Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review - Blue Hour #1 (@ActionLab)


"Sixty years from now. Seventeen years after the Great Resource War."

Finding a home for a large group of people is no easy task. One of the biggest things to contend with is the possibility of other people already calling a new home their home. In Blue Hour #1 from Action Lab Entertainment, that contention becomes even more dangerous for the visitors. The issue is written by Dino Caruso, illustrated by Chad Cicconi, colored by Francesca Zambon and lettered by Adam Wollet.

Following a great resource war on Earth, a group of disillusioned human colonists seek refuge on a desolate planet in a remote binary star system. They plan to build a utopia, but when the yellow sun sets leaving only a blue sun above, a deep indigo shadow covers the colony. Local alien legend says the "Blue Hour" will spell evil and ruin for all who venture out of shelter. Can the colonists overcome this harsh environment and their own human nature to survive the "Blue Hour?"

Caruso taps into the prevailing theme of resource availability in Blue Hour #1, tapping into the fear inherent in the paucity of resources. To get to this message though, Caruso fast-forwards through some of the history to set the stage for the present. His approach works, although the first part of the issue feels a little rushed, yet the second-half of the issue slows down a bit and is where the meat of the story is. It's an interesting way to set up the current state of things and his dialogue effectively fills the reader in on the events to that point. One minor gripe is that Caruso doesn't really spend as much time with the characters themselves which somewhat lowers the stakes for the entire series as a whole.

There's a very rudimentary style to the artwork that Cicconi taps into. His characters are pretty generic in appearance and may of them seem to float against sparsely illustrated backgrounds. These characters are emphasized by bold, black outlines that make them stand out from one another and the backgrounds. The panels are laid out pretty simply, with Cicconi again relying on black outlines for the panel borders. Zambon's colors are focused more on the characters than anything else, giving each major player a very distinct look.

Blue Hour #1 is a cautionary tale about survival. The human colonists are desperate to find a better place to live, but even living on another planet under the guise of peace will likely breed anger amongst that planet's indigenous beings. Caruso is really tapping into that sense of conquest in Blue Hour #1 as the catalyst for the series' events. Cicconi's illustrations are straightforward and simple, providing the book with enough of a sense of otherworldliness. Blue Hour #1 is a space book with broader, political machinations at play.

Blue Hour #1 is in stores now.

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