Trauma is the order of the day for Sensorum #1, the debut indie passion project of writer Anthony Toledo and burgeoning Illustrator Samantha Kitt. The story follows the vigilante exploits of one Dr. Sanjay Madani; healer of the sick and the struck by day, armor-suited avenger by night with the added ability of being able to feel or extract the pain of others, victim and perp alike.
It must be noted that the art, being of the highly independent variety, may seem somewhat lackluster, but as a child of the 90’s, this art style added a level of unease to the whole project that I absolutely loved. In my head I saw school PSAs or Disney Animation circa The Little Mermaid with an added layer of city unease, domestic violence and outrun-style costuming. While reading I couldn’t help but be reminded of album covers from the Hardcore punk genre ala Black Flag’s “Slip It In.” The overall effect was nothing short of compelling–even necessary.
Because duality also plays a major role in the entire work. Toldeo’s foreword lets us in on the fact that the light and simplicity of the Silver Age and the grit & grim of 80’s comic titles have left Toledo at a crossroad as a creator with a decision to make: Light or Dark?
Toledo’s writing finds a darkly poetic medium, a repeating style that brings home the truth of the world we are visiting. At one point in the story a decision of whether or not to pay attention to the sorrows of a perpetrator is brought up, and finally decided against in order to follow the best course of action for the victimized. The point is clear in this scene and the overall work: Pain is inevitable, make it worth something.