Review - Lightstep #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Let's start off by reciting the three truths of the Primogenitor."

There's the possibility of an infinite number of worlds across the galaxy, many of which we have yet to discover. One such world might be moving so perilously close to a black hole that time moves differently there. An example of that world is in Lightstep #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Miloš Slavković and Mirko Topalski, illustrated by Slavković, lettered by Andrej Bunjac and colored by Dave Stewart.

January Lee is of royal descent, part of the ruling class that lives out their lives on accelerated, ''Lightstepped'' worlds where a single day is a lifetime on a normal planet. But her ''holy ailment,'' which allows her to see the truth behind the Primogenitor's lies, marks her for banishment to the outer worlds. This is the beginning of a fantastic tale of alien worlds, a star-spanning empire, and rogues and rebels seeking a weapon hidden in the transmission of a radio drama from Earth thousands of years ago.

Crafting new universes always requires plenty of information and Slavković and Topalski aren't shy about laying on the expository in Lightstep #1 to ensure the reader has a good idea of what's going on. The writing duo cram a tremendous amount of detail into the issue, primarily to establish January Lee as the main character seeking a new way of life. And while there's definitely a lot to digest in the first issue, that doesn't prevent Slavković and Topalski from crafting a well-thought out and rich world that truly feels as if it's light years away. What's extremely interesting about the book is the way that lavković and Topalski use January Lee's ability to speak to the human condition; that is, humans live out what seems to be an eternity over the span of one day to the Lightstep. Such a disparity in livelihoods provides Slavković and Topalski ample fodder for impressing upon the reader how important life really is and what things should be prioritized.

The way Slavković illustrates January Lee and the Lightstep is almost dreamlike and seems completely appropriate considering the type of lifestyle they live on the Lighstepped worlds. All the world's inhabitants are exemplary models of fitness and beauty, showcasing physiques that are godlike. Slavković imbues the characters with a sense of drama by presenting them in poses that are balletic in nature, contorting their bodies in an almost "woe is me" fashion that's seemingly ignorant of the plights of others. The panels are very cleanly arranged and further a more buttoned-up and refined notion as January Lee moves through a day in her life. Stewart's colors are bright incarnations of darker hues helping to reinforce the contrast between worlds.

Lightstep #1 is a bold first issue that strives for quite a bit. January Lee wants to live life differently than what she's done before and what's she expected to do going forward, but (as is almost always the case on a world like hers) change doesn't come easy. Slavković and Topalski emphasize the romance of an ancient civilization as the backdrop for progressive change. Slavković's artwork is gorgeous and fluid, presenting the Lightstepped worlds as orbs of enlightenment and sophistication. Lightstep #1 is a tale of a distant planet living in the past despite the best efforts of some of its inhabitants to be more forward-thinking.

Lightstep #1 is available November 21.