In the Syrian warzone, super powered soldiers operate behind the scenes. Amid the ruins of a devastated city, a high stakes secret war plays out.
This first chapter of The Hunter Project ably introduces a small squad of a characters, merging a familar warzone with an unfamiliar set up.
Almost without dialogue and packed with action, we’re given no background or explanation. Even at the end, we don’t know who these characters are, or what they want. Instead, a fantastically choreographed shootout takes place, mixing breathless, brutal action with some interesting superpowers. The Hunter Project also hints at the politics going on behind the scenes, managing to be shocking, intelligent and funny.
The Hunter Project is an online comic, the first chapter of which you can check out right now at thehunterproject.com. Unlike most webcomics, which simply transfer the paper format to your screen or monitor, The Hunter Project makes intelligent use of your browser. Rather than mimic turning the page, or even retaining the usual panel layout, the whole comic works as a single scrolling image. The action moves almost entirely vertically, rather than from top left to bottom right. Full screen panels filed with chunky characters and big skies take up your whole screen. The transition between scenes is marked simply by physical distance between images, almost like a cinematic “fade to black”. It’s a smart way of doing things, and whilst it might initially feel a bit weird it raises the question of why most webcomics are stuck in the past, pretending to be books.
Art from Andrei Straliciuc uses this new format incredibly well. In the opening image, we drift down from the desert sky, to a ruined city, to our characters, to a close up. Interesting character designs are found throughout, and powers on display go beyond the bland depictions seen in more obvious superhero comics
The new format also allows interesting things to be done with lettering. At one point, a word balloon has two tails, almost like there was a change in camera angle whilst the lines were being spoken. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Brilliantly.
Beyond the set up and introduction to scenario and characters, there’s not a huge amount else happening in this chapter. Characters are hinted at, plots are suggested. That said, it’s a great introduction and we’re already looking forward to chapter two.