The world of social media has often been described as a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps people stay connected, but on the other, it’s a breeding ground for digital cultism. Under The Influence takes a dive into the murky depths of online cults and how it can sometimes turn deadly.
Written by Eliot Rahal (Amelia Aierwood – Basic Witch, Midnight Vista) with art from Stefano Simeone and lettering by Frank Cvetkovic, the debut issue is a character-driven story that explores power structures and the communities people build online.
The story of Under The Influence #1 is centered around Paul Kozac, a teenage sociopath who accidentally creates an online cult called The Hot Dog Party. When a prank goes wrong, the F.B.I. sends in an undercover agent, Cara Cole, to infiltrate their ranks and investigate the incident. What ensues is a battle against real stakes, fake news, and memes. The story is easy to follow and well-written, with characters that are relatable and engaging. The pacing of the story is spot-on, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
The art from Stefano Simeone is beautifully done, while at times the art can be chaotic it doesn’t take away from the excellent storytelling. The lettering from Frank Cvetkovic is also noteworthy.
Under The Influence #1 is extremely relevant in modern times. With the rise of social media, the story feels like it hits close to home. It’s a warning about the dangers of idolizing social influencers and how quickly it can turn ugly. The comic provides a window into the world of social media cultism and how it can cause harm to individuals who fall under its influence.
The design of Under The Influence is visually stunning. From the use of # in the names of the creative team to the notification bell used as the issue number, the series feels fresh and modern. The design choices reflect the story’s focus on social media and the online world. It’s a small detail, but it adds to the overall experience of reading the comic book. The graphic design team at Mad Cave Studios really knocked it out of the park on this one!
We highly recommend Under The Influence #1. With a thought-provoking storyline, engaging characters, beautiful art, and modern design, it’s a refreshing take on the effects of social media on people’s lives. The debut issue sets up a world that I’m excited to explore further, and I can’t wait to see what the creative team has in store for us.
Under The Influence #1 hits local comic book shops on July 1, 2023. Be sure to let your local comic book shops you want a copy prior to FOC (final order cut-off) on June 12.