Under The Influence #1

Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead

With the rise of Social Media in the last decade or so and the various Influencers to rise up thanks to Social Media, its no surprise Comic Books are exploring the whole thing. Pat Shand’s 2019 title Snap, Flash, Hustle from Black Mask Studios is one such title that comes to mind for me on this. And no doubt, there are plenty more out there that are exploring the use of Social Media/Influencers in Comics for stories and Mad Cave is just the latest to do so with their July release of Under The Influence by Eliot Rahal, Stefano Simeone, and Frank Cvetkovic. Which also involves Hot Dogs surprisingly enough. But given my own penchant for loving Hot Pockets and it being something I’m known for on Facebook, this shouldn’t be too surprising to see happen. Now, the first few pages in this first issue are a prime example as to why you should be paying attention to what’s in front of you and not your phone. Especially if you just so happen to be on the run ‘cause of a challenge you’re doing that might not exactly be legal!

Though after that I was kind of confused as things led to our boy Paul and how there may be a whole Influencer Cult centered on him thanks to his thing involving Hot Dogs.

I kind of thought at first he was the kid we see in the beginning even if that didn’t exactly make sense but after a re-read or two I realized him and that kid were two separate individuals. Not sure if that’s just something on my end due to how my sleep schedule’s gone messy while on vacation or the creative team not being more clearer on things during the transition of events. Another thing about this book is that it draws home the point of how one needs to be able to move and adapt to the changing of the times. Especially when it comes to dealing with certain kinds of problems a group like the FBI may have to deal with. And Paul and his Hot Dog Party Cult Crew are evidently a problem.

Though whether or not they are drinking the Kool-Aid is unclear but I’ll take a cup either way! Which brings us to Agent Cara Cole, someone with a mysterious past (don’tcha just love those?) who is perfect for putting on the job to figure out a few things where Paul and his bunch are concerned.

And as us readers see, that front ends on a cliffhanger and I’m curious to find out if everything’s the real deal or a set up. Eliot Rahal and his team definitely have started a mystery here and I’m curious to see where this whole thing goes! It should also be noted that the second issue will be out on August 16th! So remember, don’t let yourself be too influenced, unless its Kool-Aid doing it. Then its perfectly fine.


Under The Influence #1
Mad Cave Studios
Writer: Eliot Rahal
Artist/Colorist: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks

Summary: 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.