Review - The Warning #1 (@ImageComics)

"Do I know you?"

Handling an alien invasion is a scenario fraught with fear. Handling any invasion brings with it plenty of fear, but the unknown of aliens is another compounding fear factor. In The Warning #1 from Image Comics, the invasion isn't the only thing that brings with it a torrent of emotion. The issue is written and illustrated by Edward Laroche, colored by Brad Simpson and lettered by Jaymes Reed.

An enormous machine slowly materializes in a major West Coast city. Who sent it-and why-is a mystery, understood only by the malevolent beings gliding silently toward Earth through the inky vastness of space. In response, a multinational combat brigade called Gladiator Two-Six is deployed. Outfitted with next-generation military science and weapons, they're tasked with stopping any extraterrestrial threat that emerges.

Laroche does a phenomenal job of setting the atmosphere in The Warning #1, relying on the harsh reality that is war as a mechanism of doing so. Much of the issue's narration is through the use of a stream of consciousness as a soldier recounts how war changes everyone as a framing device for the impending invasion. Laroche's dialogue is very succinct in its approach, taking a philosophical approach to how war operates and the ways it impacts the world. The story also doesn't follow a traditional timeline in that Laroche shifts chapters around to give the reader a sense of a developed world. Laroche is definitely building something special in the series and his approach to the script in the first issue does a remarkable job of showing it.

Laroche also handles art duties on the book and what's most interesting is how he uses angles and perspectives. Many of the panels seem to offer slightly askew looks at the characters which helps to remind the reader that things aren't normal in this world and they will likely get worse. Laroche's linestyle is very simple yet elegant in that there's a cleanliness to how he renders the characters against clean backdrops. The characters also sport wardrobe that feels realistic despite the world's era not being exactly defined, Laroche doesn't go the Gears of War route with his soldiers' physiques. Simpson colors the issue with an array of colors that move from greens to browns to yellows to reds, all of which set up the world.

The Warning #1 is a book that lives up to its name as just that: a warning. It's a cautionary tale about an invading force, but it's also a warning about the psychological effects that come with combat. Laroche's script is very tight and well-thought, not wasting words and getting straight to the heart of the story. Laroche's illustrations are equally as concise with crisp linework accentuated by great coloring. The Warning #1 is a strong first issue that sets the tone for what should be a great next few issues.

The Warning #1 is available November 28.