Who are The XII? Ghosts? Demons? Urban legends? Marauders? Nobody can say for certain what they are, but their influence is everywhere.
Caleb and his family are living a difficult life on a desolate farm in the wastelands of a post-apocalyptic America. For years, the family stayed clear of the cities. They suffer a few setbacks that make their already precarious position even worse when raiders hit their farm.
Caleb and his family are forced to start a journey along the abandoned roads known as the ‘Dead Roads’ to seek a new life in Sacred City, previously known as the city of Chicago. As winter falls upon them, and they travel through the wasteland, they quickly realize that their safety comes at a price.
But this journey is a dangerous journey as the myth of the XII, a group of terrifying, dangerous beings, is very much present on these roads. They attempt to survive the hell of the apocalypse while avoiding the XII. Will they be able to make it to the promised land and find sanctuary or will the legend of the XII reveal itself and make them a target?
THE CREATIVE TEAM
The creative team consists of Patrick Trahey (writer), Luis Suarez (interior and cover art), MaGnUs (letterer), Wes Locher (letterer), and Peter Semeti (colors and letters).
Patrick Trahey is a writer and a Chicago native who enjoys routinely hurtling his beloved hometown into apocalypses of various flavors. He is the creator of The XII, Sol Comics, and all the short stories that live therein.
Luis Suarez studied art and animation at the University of La Laguna in his hometown Tenerife, Spain. He started his career doing fanzines and creating concept art and animation for the Goya Film Award-nominated Hiroku: Defenders of GAIA.
MaGnUs (Martín A. Pérez) is a writer, screenwriter, and comic book marker; radio host/producer He has collaborated with print publications and digital publications. He was one of the founders of the Montevideo Comics convention and organizes role-playing game events with Caballeros de Montevideo; he is also a member of the editorial board of GAS Comics.
Wes Locher has written comics for numerous publishers, including Alterna Comics, and has contributed short comics to anthologies too countless to name.
The XII series is published by Alterna Comics since 2018. Alterna Comics was founded in 2006 by publisher Peter Simeti and has gone on to help produce over 100 titles since then. Alterna has been home to a New York Times best-seller, FUBAR Empire of the Rising Dead (2012), and a film adaptation, The Chair (2017), and has gained attention for its modern newsprint initiative and affordable prices. Alterna Comics titles are distributed to readers and retailers worldwide from their online store. Alterna also has its YouTube channel like many other creators do.
ABOUT THE XII
The XII series takes place in a dystopian future full of drama, horror, mystery, and thrilling suspense. The stories are printed on traditional old newspaper-like material in floppy format. As of date, the series has 10 published issues, with 2 story arcs each with 5 issues. Each issue has usually 32 pages.
The first 5 issues tell the story of the survival of Caleb and his family. Issues 6 through 10 tell the story of a pair of twins, Michael, and Nathan as they embark on a journey to the promised land where they will find resources to live a better life.
The series is a brutal realistic take on the post-apocalyptic theme specifically targeting mature audiences. Similar to War Party, it is not a tale based on the ideologies of the modern world. Things will not magically get better. Each decision made comes with consequences.
THE XII: THE FATHER LIMITED SERIES
The first 5 issues are created and written by Patrick Trahey. Pencils, inks, tones, and cover art by Luis Suarez. Letters (balloons) by MaGnUs. Letters (text) and colors by Peter Semeti.
The XII ISSUE #1 BEWARE THE DEAD ROADS!
The Sacred City holds the promise of a better life for Caleb and his family. Unfortunately, they’ll have to travel the ‘Dead Roads’ to get there. As winter falls upon them, they must travel through the barren wasteland and quickly realize that their safety comes at a price.
The XII ISSUE #2 INNOCENCE LOST
Years of relative safety have spared Caleb’s son Eli from the harsh truths of the world. Finally face to face with the brutality and desolation that exists outside the farm, Eli comes to the grim understanding of how the ‘Dead Roads’ got their name.
The XII ISSUE #3 A NIGHTMARE COME TRUE
After going alone to scout the Sacred City, Caleb returns to find his son has gone missing. Fearing that his worst nightmare has come true, Caleb comes to the harsh realization that this whole ordeal might be his own fault.
The XII ISSUE #4 DEAD END
Discovering that the XII is more than a macabre campfire legend, Caleb’s reality begins to unravel as another revelation shakes him to his core. Drugged and captured, Caleb slips into repressed memories of a dark time in a city he swore he would never go back to.
The XII ISSUE #5 A PROMISE KEPT—A PROMISE…BROKEN!
In the shocking finale, Caleb is taken to the ‘Promised Land’ and finds his family no longer needs him. Backed into a corner with the past has finally caught up to him, Caleb is forced to play the XII’s game in order to protect the ones he loves.
THE XII: A WALK WITH DEATH LIMITED SERIES
The “A Walk with Death issues was created and written by Patrick Trahey. Pencils, inks, tones, and cover art by Luis Suarez. Letters by Wes Locher.
The XII ISSUE #6: IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH!
Twin brothers, Michael and Nathan grew up in the shadow of death itself. Their grandmother claimed the land was sacred, but after a lifetime of losing family and friends, the twins knew better; the land was poison and they had to do whatever they could to escape it.
The XII ISSUE #7 A WALK WITH DEATH: A SICKNESS GROWS!
The post-apocalyptic nightmare continues. On the open roads, at the outset of a long and harrowing journey, Nathan’s sickness grows. After a deadly attack by slavers, Michael is faced with a terrible realization, there’s no use fighting Death.
The XII ISSUE #8 A WALK WITH DEATH: PEACE…AT LAST?
Twin brothers Michael and Nathan discover a green forest with fresh fruit and fish. Nathan becomes sick and Michael must deal with the situation. The is determined to try his utmost best to take care of his brother.
The XII ISSUE #9 A WALK WITH DEATH
Twin brothers Michael and Nathan struggle to move ahead. Unfortunately, Michael is faced with the inevitable, you can’t outrun Death. Succumbing to exhaustion, he presses on towards the Sacred City, barely staying a step ahead.
The XII ISSUE #10 A WALK WITH DEATH: DEAD END
Michael is faced with an inevitable reality; he can’t outrun Death. Exhausted and nearly defeated, he presses on towards the Sacred City. There he meets Aunt Marge and settles there but he hates his work. He eventually thinks that he finds his purpose: Join the militia that defends the city. The gear he gets looks very similar to that of the XII.
The XII feels much more focused on not just the characters, but specifically their actions in this brutal world and the consequences of the decisions they make to survive.
THE XII: THE FATHER LIMITED SERIES
Caleb, who has an extremely powerful and painful arc throughout the series, many of the core family characters feel faded into the background, with some of the characters not being very clear about what their names are until deep into the story. In some cultures, red represents happiness but here the Red/orange, black and white coloring palette is set to reflect desperation, blood, and fire. The visuals are interesting because of the enhancement of certain scenes in these colors.
At the farm, Caleb lives with his wife Anna Belle, their 4 kids, Anna Belle’s brother Alvin, and Hank, a family friend. Eli is the oldest son, Marie looks like a 10-year-old, and the twins look like 4 years old boys, I’m not sure.
The story starts at a crucial point where Caleb is confronting the twelve, we then go back a week later where we see Caleb teaching his younger kids about survival and the importance of cultivating and preventing waste. How it is important to always have a backup plan and more importantly have backups on top of backups to be able to survive. It is an important lesson.
We further see more of the family dynamics. Anna Belle seems to have a complicated relationship with Caleb. Alvin seems to be a useless alcoholic. Hank seems strange. As the story progresses it centered more on Caleb, Alvin, and Eli. We finally see Hank’s true colors. We go into their past to understand why Anna Belle and Caleb’s relationship is the way it is and how they get to live on the farm in the first place. Caleb is no saint, he is a survivor.
The first issue has some typos that shouldn’t be there I think: “every tie we have a slim winter, you bring that up” and “We can keep the salt park and salt code with a splash of well water”.
On a curious note, it appears that there is a 2019 softcover version of the XII series that includes all 5 issues consisting of 160 pages on Amazon. I couldn’t find it on the Alterna website. It looks like there was a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign back in 2018 to create the trade-length graphic novel version.
THE XII: A WALK WITH DEATH LIMITED SERIES
The Twins, Micheal and Nathan, live with their grandma in a cursed town where everyone is slowly dying. There is so much happening including covering up secrets. When they are finally fed up, they left the town. Unfortunately, one of the twins gets severely sick and the other is trying his best to take care of his brother. In the end, death is unavoidable.
This story while being interesting is also depressing at the same time. I got a “Man of Steel” feeling with the ending where everything is dark with no hope. It feels like there should be a better way for him to keep on living. He lost someone very important to him and is missing someone to fill that void. Aunt Marge seems like a complete stranger.
Even though he acknowledges the hope and life of people living in the city, it seems like he is having difficulties just trying to live day by day. It feels like he is giving up in a way and is willing to live a robotic life. He is willing to do dirty work without looking back and no matter the consequences as long as the people of the city are safe which is initially a noble cause but would that be sufficient for him or will he transform into something else?
Green, black, and white coloring are an interesting choice. Remember in cartoons when a character is going to be sick it turns green? Taking this in mind, the green colors help set the mood to reflect sickness and death.
THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
Alterna Comics Winter 2022 pre-orders crowdfunding campaign did not disappoint. Alterna is actively publishing comics and offers clients, through its crowdfunding campaigns, the opportunity to get new issues of comic books before they go public on their website.
The prices are very affordable for pre-order and when it goes public the price remains almost the same. The interior pages of the book are made of newspaper material, very similar to readers’ digest just thinner, and with a more vulnerable cover.
The XII series looked interesting but there was one small problem: Issue#5 of the Father series for some reason is not reprinted anymore by Alterna. Fortunately, I was able to find a copy on eBay. Of course, the digital version is always available on the Alterna website but I prefer having the physical copy.
In Addition to The XII series, I also got 2 available issues of Legends of the Log from the campaign. The advantage of the campaign is that it offered a “create your bundle” option and it also offered additional products for free as stretch goals on the campaign which included:
- Alterna Series Trading Card #3 (MR. CRYPT)
- Alterna Series Trading Card #4 (LOG)
- Random Alterna Attributes Trading Card
- Alterna Comics’ “Thank You” letter, which is much appreciated
Alterna has good customer service. You can always be sure that you will get a response when you contact them. The tracking number was timely provided. They delivered everything in one package which is what was expected and what I prefer. Receiving multiple packages can be costly for international backers who may use third-party packaging management services.
The XII is an engaging series. The art is interesting including the color choices and shades. The dystopian world of the XII was created looking and feeling heartbreakingly brutal. Each decision has consequences and danger is unavoidable. The cliffhangers were interesting, especially the one in issue #3.
In the end, Caleb retains his hope to save his family and chose to focus on protecting his kids. Michael hates his life and chose to remain in the city. He finds purpose by joining the militia and defending the people of the city. Each one of their decisions will have consequences on themselves and those around them.
Physical and digital copies of all the issues are available at the Alterna online store. Check them out!
Interested in more titles? Check the latest publications from the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding campaigns and shared my notes on the products I received:
- EYES ON SHADOW OF THE KRAKEN #1
- EYES ON TINSELTOWN: IN THE KILLZONE!
- EYES ON BLACK TIDE RISING: VOLUME 1
- EYES ON JETTA RAYE ADVENTURES
My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.
See you on the next page!