Self-Published (available on Comixology Submit)
The son of two cult-hopping parents seeks them out with the help of his girlfriend and lands in the middle of a grand conspiracy that could change the world as we know it. Armed only with their wits, strength, and love, the pair fight for survival while trying to keep their normal lives together in this new series that looks to mix supernatural storytelling and the very real problems people face in the 21st Century.
Von Allan wastes no time getting the story started, opening with his protagonists spying on a ritual ceremony where a gleefully naked woman urges on her follows to conduct their unholy acts. The two charge into action, expecting the usual fake cultists to split or tell them if his parents were there. Instead, they land in the middle of a fight while a strange transformation occurs before their eyes.
They manage a narrow escape (otherwise, this would be a one-shot comic!) but it's not long before Nick and Lou are deep in trouble against, setting a tone for the series. This unlikely pair of heroes are drawn into something bigger than themselves or even Nick's parents, and if they can't find a way to stop the cultists, their lives won't be only ones forfeited. Though not possessing any special powers of their own, they're able to overcome because of their determination--a character trait that shows this comic's Silver Age influences.
One of the things I really do like about this series however, is the use of the characters, even if they need a bit more depth. Lou is shown to be every bit Nick's equal. She's not the damsel in distress or nagging girlfriend or secondary character that seems to be the fate of too many female characters in comics. Their relationship feels very much like that of equals who discuss everything together. She clearly wants to be a part of Nick's life, even if that means being tied up into chasing after his parents. Their relationship is shown as being loving and deep, and this one wins major points for that.
Allan mentions in his promotional materials that his goal was to make a series that reflects today's world, just as the comics from the 1960s reflected theirs. In that, I think he achieved his goal while telling a story that's definitely building to something interesting, as the hints increase and Nick and Lou realize they're stuck in the middle of whatever is wrong.
Though there are a few rough patches in the artwork as well, overall it's very strong for a self-published superhero comic. Allan definitely has an eye for how to construct panels and keep them varied from page to page. His use of action/speed lines is excellent and some of the best work I've seen in that regard in some time. In a splash page where Lou attacks their tormentors, the lines draw all the attention to the point of attack, but there are still other parts of the scene (such as Nick's stunned expression and body language) that remain in the reader's viewpoint, allowing for a complete picture of what's going on. That's a tiny detail that often gets lost, even in books at major publishers. A person who is at point "a" doesn't magically disappear just because someone else shows up there!
As with the dialogue, however, there are a few points that could prove troublesome for certain groups of readers. Allan's lines are extremely thin, which makes certain scenes feel flatter than they should, especially in crowd scenes. Despite the good use of speed lines and action, there are times when Nick looks stilted and artificially posed into a panel, rather than natural flow. Allan also has a limited range of facial looks when we aren't in close-up settings. None of these are game-breakers, though. If you read Boom! books before they started getting the bigger names, this is about on the same level. It's solid work that gets the job done, but don't expect amazing things in the detailing.
Metal Gods is off to a very interesting start. If I had gotten this at a show or on a random grab, I'd have come away happy with it. The characters are fun, the plot is fast-paced and involves things I like--cults, conspiracies, and just the right amount of sexual content. Combined with some nice visual work at the layout stage, this one is worth picking up, especially at its 99 cent digital price point, for those who like action stories mixed with a bit of horror.
You can pick up issue 1 at Comixology now.