Aberrant Vol. 1

When a story’s opening chapter is titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” it usually establishes a particular tone, gives an impression of a narrative that features challenges to the protagonist who will ultimately overcome them. The title paints an image of optimism, even in the face of adversity. In short, it sets one’s mind at ease, all but guaranteeing a tale that even in its darkest moments will be rather sunny. 

Yet, this isn’t Aberrant. In fact, the first volume of Aberrant doesn’t even remotely try to pull an impactful M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist by metaphorically walking the story down one road before abruptly switching it to another. There is not a single “happy” thing about the events of the initial chapter.


Aberrant begins in Amenas, Algeria. The first shot is of a chopper drifting past a hazy sun and the words of someone singing the opening lines to Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The following scene is of the inside of the chopper. A subdued color palette relying on shades of dark browns, grays, and black is used to illustrate the group of soldiers crammed into the ‘copter. As it prepares for its descent, Croon continues to sing “Don’t worry…be happy,” and the Major, David, delivers a cheesy one-liner, “Prepare to dance, gentlemen.” After a brief flashback of the squad’s mission briefing where David and Croon trade some generic quips about their target, its back to Algeria where David’s team is preparing to initiate their offensive against a group of terrorists.

To this point, Aberrant is playing it straight. It has all the makings of a run-of-the-mill story about a group of tougher-than-a-$2-steak roughneck soldiers who, despite their various individual quirks, always get the job done. They are essentially an unbeatable fighting force, tasked with taking on the toughest missions Uncle Sam has to offer.
The team progresses to their target, encountering and disrespectfully dismissing the unit previously assigned to handle the current operation, and begin their assault on the hostage-holding terrorist. With Croon singing the entire time, everything goes as planned. The hostages are saved. Croon does a little flirting. All is well…
…or so it seems.


One of the freed hostages informs David that something amiss is going on in the lab next door and an individual named Cordrey is assumed to be behind the evil.
David leads his team next door where they unwittingly walk into a world of superhuman horrors.


Aberrant shines the brightest once David and his team enter that lab of madness. The story transitions from one using a tired and old formula to one that begs for a continued read. It happens in an instant. Though it requires a little more than half of the first volume to dive into the real story — one of revenge, superhuman terrorist fighters, and underhanded government dealings — it is well worth the wait.

Its dark and gritty just like the dreary art style used to depict every moment. In a scene in which David is sitting alone with his thoughts, the way the shadows drape him accurately convey the gloom that undoubtedly enshrouds him in that instance. Even later, as he embarks upon a personal mission to end a vendetta, the hollow look in his eyes is drawn with scary accuracy. There is no doubt about David’s conviction.

This first volume of Aberrant is truly a tale of two comics. The first half is a standard military action comic and the second is something much heavier and more sinister. The name of the game here is patience. Read the first half carefully because it does provide a valuable back-story for David and the world of Aberrant in general. Then, really dig in for the second half

The sky’s the limit for Aberrant. As long as the next volume builds upon where the first ended, it will be a must-read.



R.R. Johnson

R.R. Johnson

About Author

R.R. Johnson brings a distinct perspective to Indie Volt. An avid reader, the former newspaper editor has explored a variety of interests – from authoring a book of short stories to producing music. When not writing reviews, R.R can be found sharing his insights on various topics on the webcast I’m Just Sayin.

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