Out today from Image Comics, the new series Indigo Children makes an explosive debut. The series follows journalist Donovan Price as he investigates the disappearance of a child with extraordinary gifts. Fans of the TV shows The X-Files, Manifest, or Stranger Things will recognize their favorite themes in this first issue, which draws on a lot of the classic tropes of the supernatural-science-fiction genre. It has found footage, a mysterious unknown informant, and an anti-government conspiracy theorist whose paranoia might be justified. The writing team of Curt Pires and Rockwell White have really nailed the pacing in this first issue, which balances a lot of world-building, action, and intrigue.
The visual team of Alex Diotto (lines) and Dee Cunniffe really shine in this issue—the pictures feel very clean and easy to follow but still detailed enough to bring the story alive, and everything is set in beautiful gradients mixed with earth tones that evoke a rugged yet supernatural feel. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou also does a great job with clear, easy-to-follow lettering while also experimenting with interesting special effects words, which aren’t limited to sounds. It’s very neat!
However, as much as I want to know more about the story presented in the comic, I have some hesitations about recommending it. The first one is that this seems like a tv show or movie pitch in comic book form and has already been optioned for a movie months before the first issue came out. Curt Pires has worked on a lot of tv and film projects, and the writing reflects this.
Indigo Children #1 relies on a lot of the same tv ‘easy worldbuilding’ shortcuts that shows like Scandal, Nikita, or The Blacklist use: evoking tropes about a country to set up a story quickly. This specific one is set in Russia, and it feels very on the nose to have another story about shadowy government conspiracies in this setting. The Russian government has done things worth criticizing, but surface-level depictions like this don’t provide those critiques. Maybe this story will do something to set itself apart from how these other shows are using complex geopolitical issues as mere plot devices, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Another piece of background that readers might want to know before picking up this book is the history around the title. The phrase ‘Indigo Children’ was coined in the 1970s, stemming from a new-age concept of auras and such to deem some children as gifted. Aside from being woo-ey nonsense, many parents have adopted the term for their children who are neurodivergent (typically ADHD) while shying away from institutions and processes built to assess and help neurodivergent children. Someone who grew up with this term being used for them might feel that this term carries a lot of baggage, even though this series really takes it at face value and portrays the children as gifted without getting into the weeds of how it has been used.
Overall, I found the story compelling but maybe a little formulaic so far. The pacing and world-building are efficient but rely on tropes enough that the characters and their motivations feel very one-dimensional. I think the visual aspects are redeeming, but can’t shake the feeling that this was ultimately intended for a medium other than comics.