Review - Burning Fields #1

"This is the moment where my interest is supposed to be piqued, right?"

While the world in general is in turmoil, there's a good bit of it focused on the Middle East. Most of it surrounds the oil generated there, but there's plenty of political and combat aspects to the region that make it a hotbed of activity. Using that as a backdrop is Burning Fields #1 from BOOM! Studios. The issue is written by Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel, illustrated by Colin Lorimer, colored by Joana Lafuente and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Dana Atkinson, a dishonorably discharged army investigator, is pulled back to the Middle East when a group of American oil technicians disappear under bizarre circumstances. With the help of an Iraqi investigator, what Dana discovers is unimaginable: a series of unusual incidents at the drill site lead her and her unlikely ally to discover a mythic evil that has been released, one that threatens both the lives of the entire region and the fragile peace that exists.

Burning Fields #1 feels a lot longer than it actually is, mostly owing to all the set-up featured in the first issue. It opens and closes with some rather graphic imagery that shows the world isn't exactly a nice place and Moreci and Daniel doesn't really pull any punches in that regard. In between, Moreci and Daniel present a world that's a stark reminder of the tumultuous environment in the Middle East right now. The writers rely on that real-world aspect of the story to reinforce the details of the book without spending too much time on it, giving them more time to focus on other aspects of the story. There are complexities surround Dana and her new "friends," the tenseness of which is on full display as early as the reader's first encounter with her.

From the opening pages, the reader is quickly made aware that Lorimer isn't being shy about the subject matter. Burning Fields #1 looks to delve into the evil that comes with corruption and terrorism and Lorimer relies on shadowy illustrations to achieve that end. Most of the book focuses on the facial expressions of the characters in a way that visually solidifies the emotion at that point in the story. Gutters move from black to white depending on the setting and in the cases where they're black, there's a certain solitude conveyed. Lafeunte's colors are bold and dark, leaving little room for interpretation as to the innocence of the characters.

Burning Fields #1 aims to be something of a political thriller with a bit of violence mixed in; think of it as Syriana meets Se7en. Dana as a lead character has something of a troubled past, enough of which is revealed in the first issue that she makes for a rather complex character. Moreci and Daniel's story in the first issue starts off slow to get people in position, but then starts to move downhill much faster. Lorimer's illustrations are rife with grunge and effectively portray the events in a light that shines with guilt and evil. Burning Fields #1 offers a lot in terms of a first issue and looks to be going in a very ambitious yet dark direction.

Burning Fields #1 is in stores now with interiors below.