Friday, July 15, 2016

Review - Horizon #1 (@ImageComics)


"You are certainly quiet today."

There's a lot we don't know about the universe around us. There are plenty of expeditions and spacecraft being sent out that is feeding us tons of information, but the notion of other life out there is still just that: a notion. In Horizon #1 from Image Comics, the concept of encountering other life is explored with vigor. The issue is written by Brandon Thomas, illustrated by Juan Gedeon, colored by Frank Martin and lettered by Rus Wooton.

Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation… by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on their planet means invasion; these are lies, this is retaliation.

As any foreigner to a strange world can attest, there's a bit of a learning curve to taking in all the relevant details for survival. Thomas does an exceptional job in this regard, offering the nuances of a new locale in a way that's as jarring to the reader as it is to Zhia as the main character. This approach allows Thomas to conduct plenty of universe building without just spitting out narration verbatim. Zhia is appropriately believable as she struggles to assimilate the culture of the world and as the issue unfolds the reader learns more about the overarching plot. That overarching plot does feel a little vague as a result of Thomas' script approach, but it's likely that as Zhia learns more about the world the reader will learn more as well.

The artwork sports a somewhat cartoony look at points. That approach by Gedeon is very effective though and relies upon very distinct lines to define the characters throughout the issue. And considering the first few pages of the book have virtually no dialogue, Gedeon does a masterful job of still holding the reader's interest and conveying the finer points of the story well. There's a relatively angular approach taken by Gedeon that gives all the characters a heft to them as they cut into the backgrounds. Martin adds in a vibrant mix of colors that light the issue effectively and help add something of an intergalactic feel to the action.

Horizon #1 is a great first issue that's very confident in what it's going for. Zhia is very much a fish out of water, but she has a grander plan in mind that she'll see through whatever the cost. Thomas' script is done in a way that makes the reader earn the narration. Gedeon does a fantastic job of telling the story via art in the absence of dialogue in the first part of the book. Horizon #1 is an enjoyable first issue that knows exactly what it's going for and gets right to it.

Horizon #1 is in stores now.

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