The Recount #1 from Scout Comics feels like The Purge meets modern American politics. It is written by Jonathan Hedrick, drawn by Gabriel Ibarra Nunez, colored by Sunil Ghagre, and lettered by Cristian Docolomansky. This is quite the daring debut, as even typing this concept up on your computer seems like something that'll get a knock on your door. Let's get into it.
The Recount starts with the President of the United States' assassination as he's giving his resignation speech and things get worse for all from there. The Vice President takes office, and we're with her for what felt like the most significant part of the issue, but one of the strengths of this debut is how it cuts back and forth seamlessly from scene-to-scene. The Recount shows the American people as they react to this violent scene televised for them all to see, to the new President as she takes action, and… well, the rest is a spoiler, but suffice it to say that the killing that starts the comic will only be the first of many.
Gabriel Ibarra Nunez and Sunil Ghagre's artwork for The Recount is the exact right balance of realism and stylization, with scratchy, creeping shadows that cast a darkness over the entire issue. The angles are well-chosen, and the sparse panel count on most pages creates a cinematic feel without making the issue feel like storyboards. At first, though, The Recount feels too decompressed. It seems as if there is some kind of limit to one speech bubble per panel and five panels per page. However, what feels at first like overly decompressed scenes reveals itself to be a steady, rhythmic, purposeful pacing that pays off rather well in the end.
There's one "Come on" panel, though, and it's a bad one. As a televised broadcast threatens those who voted for the late President, an American viewer glances over his shoulder, murmuring "My God" as he looks at his "I voted Christensen" hat. It's such a silly moment that it does take the steam a bit out of an otherwise very effective sequence, and it's a shame because the panel really just had to be an image of the voter saying "My God." As is, it's an odd moment of talking down to the reader that stands out as something that should've been nipped in the editing stage.
Even so, The Recount is a solid debut that delivers a thrilling concept and a hell of a hook toward the end. I'd recommend this to those who love comics and those just starting out in the medium, as this is an easy read that feels much like a film caught on paper.