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Comic Books

Under the Influence #1 Review

Under the Influence #1 review

Under the Influence #1 Review

Under the Influence #1 review

Under the Influence #1 review
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Artist: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Published by: Mad Cave Studios

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Under the Influence dropkicks us into a world of internet cults, influencers, internet trends, and memes. As a child of the 80s, this comic did not feel foreign to me. The debut issue takes us on an acid trip of a story that involves a prank for views gone wrong leading to the accidental creation of an internet cult thanks to a teenager named Paul Kozac. Now the F.B.I. is involved with an agent going undercover amongst the ranks of the cult. 

Mad Cave’s description reads: 

A teenage sociopath, Paul Kozac, has accidentally created an internet cult called The Hot Dog Party. When a prank turns deadly, the F.B.I. sends in an undercover agent, Cara Cole, to investigate and infiltrate their ranks. Now Cara battles against real stakes, fake news, and memes in a character-driven story about power structures and the communities you build. This is a story about “Click to follow” cultism during the age of social media.

This entire issue carries the feeling of a frantic scroll through today’s social media and to a huge credit of the creative team, they put this issue together in a way that feeds into the frenzied story being told by Eliot Rahal. It at times feels like we’ve been put on the front seat of a rollercoaster and had the safety harness ripped out just as they launch us into the absurdness of social media and influences with a Salt Bae dash of cult flavor. 

Rahal alongside artist Stefano Simeone and letterer Frank Cvetkovic put out a level of production on this issue worthy of trending on Twitter. Despite their display of a flashy spread of pages, it all works seamlessly together to give us a very realistic outlook on the insanity of this story and how real it could be while diving into the tropes of social media and the influencer lifestyle. 

Under the Influence is both wild yet oddly timely given the state of social media these days and the creators have tapped into a story that could not have arrived at a more perfect time as it feels serendipitous, to say the least as many will easily connect to this series from the get-go. There’s a real message within the fevered energy of this debut issue but as the final panel suggests… don’t forget to like and subscribe to this issue and series and join the hotdog cult! 

Jackie Daytona
Jackie Daytona

A variety geek who enjoys geeking out with friends over video games, comics, or movies/TV shows. An avid wrestling fan since the days of WWE No Mercy, he now spends much of his time reading and collecting comics. All my puns are intended.

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