Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review - Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"...from their perspective, my clients are living in perfect accordance with the ideal of America..."

It's no surprise that in today's America there are fringe groups walling themselves off and maintaining their own belief system. Optimistically, those belief systems don't venture too much further out and cause a standoff with the government at large. In Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 from Dark Horse Comics, it's pretty inevitable that's exactly what will happen. The issue is written by Brian Wood, illustrated by Mack Chater, colored by Lee Loughridge and lettered by Nate Piekos of BLAMBOT.

Isaac Briggs, fresh off a tour in Afghanistan and struggling to reintegrate, finds solace hiking the old forest trails. When two random backpackers wander onto the Land, an innocent situation quickly turns dangerous and Isaac s military training takes a turn down a dark path. Welcome to Briggs Land, nearly a hundred square miles of rural wilderness, representing the largest anti-government secessionist movement in the United States.

It would typically be pretty easy to write off something like Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 as an outlandish concept with no roots in reality, but Wood wants the reader to know that the tale here is an actual, real concept. The issue opens up by setting extremely high stakes for the reader in the way of a standoff and what follows is Wood explaining why it is the Briggs feel they're just defending their rights. 2017 is a year of hyper-partisanship and an adherence to a sense that everyone thinks they know best--something Wood isn't shy about conveying in this issue. His dialogue is very crisp and to the point, effectively moving the plot along in a way that builds up suspense. And the Briggs family is characterized as one deeply devoted to their ideals, so much so that they're willing to take a stand defending them.

Chater's illustrations are defined by fluid linework and and abundance of shading. This does well in helping to present the reader with the lush wilderness that is Briggs Land, emphasizing that it's a vast expanse of nature untouched by just about anyone but hikers and solar panels. The characters all showcase darker emotions well to further underscore Chater's attention to the seriousness of the topics in the book. Chater also empties the gutters to give each panel attention. Loughridge's natural tones further ground the book in the themes of man convening with nature that the book at large attempts to draw upon.

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 is a very sound first issue. The Briggs family have a long history behind them of nefarious deeds, but at the same time they feel that they're owed ownership of "their" land as they deem fit. Wood taps into very real fears and emotions in the issue, almost guaranteeing an ending that comes as a result of escalation on both sides. Chater's artwork is crisp and does a great job of following along with the Briggs as they explore their land. Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 gives the reader plenty to grab hold of and anticipate as the series unfolds.

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 is available now.

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