Avery Silman, former superhero known as ISOM, returns to the city of Florespark to help a family friend who apparently was ill-advised to leave a stable paying job.
Avery Silman is now a common rancher, but that wasn’t always the case. After obtaining some unique abilities, Avery spent a brief stint being a hero under the moniker Isom in the city of Florespark, Texas, U.S.A. Realizing that it wasn’t for him, he walked away from this life. But after responding to a call from his sister, some violent altercations ensue and have Avery reconsidering his approach.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
ISOM: Ill-Advised Part 1 was written by Eric July, a musician and YouTube personality with commentary series on politics and pop culture. He has many loyal fans as well as many loyal anti-fans. The book was penciled and inked by industry veteran Cliff Richards (Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics) and colored by Gabe Eltaeb (DC Comics). The lettering was done by Eric Weathers (Battle Brick Road). The cover art was done by Cliff Richards.
The first issue of ISOM is a 96-page perfect bound book printed in color on high-quality paper with a glossy softcover. This book not only serves as the beginning of a new superhero character ISOM but also as a launching pad for what will inevitably be an ever-expanding comic book universe called Rippaverse. It’s a story for teens and adults full of action, drama, and mystery. The first campaign offered 3 covers for the first issue of which Cover A and B were limited items.
In addition to the main story, the book contains 2 art pages, a credit page, an introduction page, a short story about Norfrica, a glimpse into the next issue, 2 pages on respecting the source material through the Rippaverse code of ethics, a closing statement and ads for ISOM #1 materials like the domain cards and the official concept artist book, an ad for the first Yaira issue coming soon enough and an ad for the band backward. Further in between the main story, there is an ad for a lifestyle boutique which is kind of odd considering it’s just one ad.
From my understanding old American comics used to include ads and some creators like Alterna Comics replicate that by adding ads from independent projects in between the main story. My preference would be to put all ads at the end of the story but it seems that it is an American custom. The book was published in 2022 by Rippaverse Publishing founded by Eric July.
Avery Silman was once an entry-level hero known as Isom in the city of Florespark, Texas shortly after gaining his special abilities. A certain event had him hang up his suit, and now he stays on the outskirts of the city, living as a rancher.
Avery’s sister, Altona, gives him a call and wants him to visit an old friend by the name of Darren Fontaino. Another family friend, Jasmine, who was interning with Altona has gone missing and she last heard that she was dealing with Darren. But Darren has much changed since he was hanging out with Avery when they were young. He’s a cold-blooded shot-caller and one of the most feared men in the city. Both men seem to have egos as big as the Statue of Liberty.
The visit to Darren turns into one of the longest days in Avery’s life. Around these parts, people call ‘special beings’ Excepts. And unfortunately for Avery, he has the luxury of running into some of them. The AlphaCore and Yaira have their own set of conflicts. A man built like a tank by the name of Santwan reappears and he’s had a previous confrontation with Avery. What will happen next?
Where does one start? After reading the story I’m left with so many questions. What is the origin of excepts in this world? Experimentation? Are there more Alpha Cores? Why did Avery leave his sister if it’s not safe in the city? Did he try to convince his sister to leave? The company she works for seems well-established. Why would Jasmine choose to leave a potential stable job and potentially go into the gang world as a companion of the night? What happened to Avery to make him leave? How did Avery become Isom?
Ill-advised Part 1 is the starting point of the Rippaverse, a universe habited by prominent characters that have their own stories to tell. The characters’ names are highlighted in the first issue, where we met Yaira, Alpha Core and Norfrica. A lot is happening with the supporting characters but nothing concrete is resolved by the end you’re left wondering a lot.
BALANCING THE WORDS
The book is not oversaturated with word balloons. It has sound effects and even silent panels. It has a better balance compared to other books where the balloons cover great art which is unfortunate. In this book, there is an effort to not cover significant art which is much appreciated. It’s nice when the art itself can tell the story.
Further, I like the structure of the storytelling. At the beginning is each segment you will see a note indicating the location. I like that it’s not standardized and they creatively tell you where we are in the story. The word balloons in white illustrate the actual dialogue between characters whereas the yellow balks show what Avery is thinking. You will see the names of important characters highlighted to look out for.
Avery grew up in the city but after an incident decided to leave the city. He built a successful farm and maintained his distance from the city. However, he seems like he has to go back and stay in the city for a while so eventually someone else needs to take care of the farm.
Avery is very annoying when he gets so egocentric. He is going after Darren because he bruised his ego otherwise, he wouldn’t be on the lookout for Jasmine so enthusiastically. Darren who has known Avery since they were kids also has a gigantic ego and is very proud of his empire. The battle of egos between Avery and Darren soon begins. But it seems that Darren has many enemies and will potentially see the downfall of his empire. In one of the panels, Darren reminds me of a young Steve Harvey for some reason.
YAIRA is an angry young woman with special abilities. The Alpha Core is after her. My one disappointment in the story is that her costume was not disclosed in the story until after the end. I think it would have been good to add a flashback or a picture of her with her costume on since she is on the cover and on many other promotional items.
ALPHACORE are the law enforcement officers assigned to monitor the excerpts and deal with them. The team consists of Braxwell, Bryan Solary, and Ingrid Valdez. We first meet them when they are pursuing Yaira.
While Yaira seems interesting, I’m more intrigued by NORFRICA, a rock band that sings lyrics about angels sent by God to fight demons. They seem to be celestial beings that are just observing the earth not taking any action until it’s strictly necessary. Their songs seem to have an effect on people who are possessed by evil spirits versus those that don’t. They fight each other. It is so refreshing to see a band not promoting the devil for a change.
The story shows how easily women can become targets of coercion. It also shows that women can be predators which is what some use to justify their hate towards women. It may be how they adapt to their toxic environment and not seem weak. Not all women are like that. Around the world, there are many women with a good head on their shoulders fighting against the negative trends from the West and against their biggest bullies, Western women. You won’t find these at clubs, bars, or on dating apps.
It also shows how important it is for women to be vigilant and learn to defend themselves since we are more vulnerable than men. It takes a lot of training to reach the same level as men and not every woman is able to achieve it. Those who don’t need extra help, a weapon, to level the playing field.
Avery gave a gun to his sister Altona to defend herself. This is particularly possible in the U.S. In other countries guns are not allowed so women have to improvise with super-pepper spray, some kind of stun gun, or a knife. There are only a few countries where the police are extra vigilant with laws that protect women from attack and abuse. Further Altona has her own security system set up that she manages. It’s how she knew Avery was alone when he came to visit.
HIGHLIGHT ON WORK ETHIC
In the story, an example of a good work ethic is illustrated, which is important for everyone to see. It’s important to maintain that hard work will have its rewards and that merit has more value than a checkmark.
It seems that the culture has changed so much and reached even the business world where employees feel entitled to a promotion when they didn’t develop the skills to grow into that position. And when it’s not given, the employee becomes the victim of racism, sexism, and other isms.
The culture has created examples of people who find easy money with little work. These are the heroes of Western society and they are influencing new generations to become like them. People who don’t know the meaning of hard work and are thin-skinned, unable to face the challenges in the workplace.
HIGHLIGHT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FARMERS
Global farmers are still fighting to keep their land and for better work conditions. #NoFarmersNoFood is a slogan used during many farmers’ protests. People in the West don’t seem to understand the meaning of it and what is in store for the future. Governments are making the farmer’s business difficult on a daily basis and are forcing them to give up their land.
To go even further, farmers are forced to destroy food that goes beyond the limit accepted by the government. Why are such regulations in place when you have people starving? Why can’t the farmers donate or distribute the surplus? Why should it be destroyed?
People outside of the U.S. seem to see the issues more clearly and understand that fast food and manufactured food are not healthy. Even though it seems that there is an increased effort to make it less affordable to obtain healthy food, more and more people are incentivized to visit their local markets and eat local food. Some are even motivated to cultivate their own fruit and veggies. The healthiest food will always be organic and not manufactured food.
ISOM #1 was not a traditional crowdfunding campaign. The crowdfunded campaign was launched on the creator’s self-owned platform which had a few hiccups in the beginning that were eventually handled properly. The book was completed and went to print faster than most traditional crowdfunding campaigns and it was delivered a few months later after the campaign was closed.
There were various items that you could purchase throughout the duration of the ISOM #1 Campaign. I chose ISOM #1 cover B, and the YAIRA poster, a 24 x 36 sized poster of Yaira with artwork done by Bruno Abdias. This poster was rolled and shipped in a tube and the book was bagged and boarded in a separate mailer.
The updates on the campaign were provided in a professional manner including the tracking number for the items which were received in good condition. A follow-up after the delivery was also provided to obtain customers’ feedback and updates were provided on future projects as well.
ISOM: Ill-Advised Part 1 has an interesting start and the art is good. A lot is happening simultaneously setting up the stage for future conflicts. It’s not a standalone story with an open ending for potential continuation. On the contrary, there are many short stories in between that are happening but are somehow interconnected. The reader is undeniably left with the curiosity to know what happens next.
The campaign for ISOM #1 was closed as well as the campaign for ISOM #2 but both issues are available to purchase on the Rippaverse website. The next campaign from the Rippaverse appears the be the first issue of AlphaCore which will be written by Chuck Dixon, best known for his work on the Marvel Comics character The Punisher and on the DC Comics characters Batman, Bane, Nightwing, and Robin in the 1990s and early 2000s. We’ve known him from Ninja Hunter Bear, Black Tide Rising Vol.1, and Giant Two-Fisted Manly Tales. The first issue of AlphaCore will be illustrated by Joe Bennett (Marvel Comics). Look out for it if you’re interested.
I’m curious about independent stories. It would be too expensive and complicated to start reading old comics so the easiest way is to start with something new. Not everyone grew up with affordable and accessible American comics. What most people know are the cartoons, TV series, and movies that were available globally in multiple languages.
I found many more independent stories during my crowdfunding adventure. Interested? Check more COMIC BOOKS and GRAPHIC NOVELS under the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding entertainment and shared my notes on the products I received.