POWERS, Mark. Rest, volume 1. Top Cow Productions, Inc. 2010. ISBN: 9781607062103
This post will mostly be about the first volume of Rest by Mark Powers, Shawn McManus, and Marco Castiello. It will also be at least partially about my experience at New York Comic Con last month since my attendance there is the whole reason I both discovered this title and purchased it. The scans are going to be of the main character John, because I think he's supposed to be visually based on Milo Ventimiglia. There were also a lot of panels of him in his boxers and HEY, who doesn't love that? I know I do. It's also worth noting that I totally slightly ripped the top of one of the pages in this trade to give you those scans. That's dedication, people. It's also a little infuriating; this cost me $30.00. It was kind of worth it, though. I got to meet not only the aforementioned Milo Ventimiglia, but pretty much everyone who involved in making this comic. And they all signed it. Which... actually? Makes it kind of more sad that I ripped it. Even if it was just a little bit.
REST takes a very simple idea and puts an everyman character into an impossible situation. A pharmaceutical company develops a drug that lets you stay awake 24/7. They also develop a way to regulate your body so it thinks you still sleep even though this drug makes it so you don't. It basically let's you stay awake. No consequences.
John, our hero, is approached with this... let's call it an opportunity? by his old college buddy. His friend Teddy, who used to be kind of a fat, useless slob has transformed into a powerful, fit man. Because John always treated him right, Teddy wants to give John the opportunity he's had; to become the best possible person he can be. By never sleeping. John is reluctant. Wouldn't you be? The whole thing sounds crazy. He eventually relents. I have the feeling that I probably would, too. John also lives in New York City. If you are going to set up shop in the city that never sleeps, you may as well not sleep, either.
Things don't turn sour right away. Of course they eventually do because if they didn't, we wouldn't have a very interesting story. The pharmaceutical company is working on passing legislation and battle the DEA to get their drug legalized. John is thriving on the drug and has become a jet set, globe-trotting businessman. While in Cairo, however, he almost gets killed. He learns from his previously unseen-by-him bodyguard that rival companies would love to catch him, cut him open, and find out how the drug works. Gross. But... probably something that would really happen. John meets a woman on the subway he's part of the same "clinical trial." In true Top Cow form, she turns out to be a gun-toting badass mercenary by the story's end. That was probably the only non-believable aspect of the story. Everything else? It works.
I don't usually buy any Top Cow comics. I really attended the Top Cow panel (and I feel that I was definitely not the only one in this boat) because Milo Ventimiglia was there. But as a librarian, I was generally interested in what Top Cow was going to be publishing. They do some cool stuff that isn't just Witchblade and The Darkness, but they gave updates and are doing generally awesome things with their flagship titles, too. There is a definite indie vibe to what they do; they give a lot of creative control to, you guessed it, the creators. From people I talked to at NYCC and from my general experience, that doesn't always happen. A colleague of mine said that all the Top Cow guys (yeah, all men. I didn't see one woman creator represented for their company there at all) seemed like "one big frat house." Yeah, they did. But they made it a fraternity I might like to join. And if they are coming out with things like Rest? They have generally earned my interest and ultimately my respect. This story was good and would be a welcome addition to any library collection.