Review - Strangelands #1 (@humanoidsinc)

"Elakshi and Adam Land are on the run. They're the most wanted Ignited people in the world."

Being powered brings with it the requisite amount of responsibility. That responsibility takes on a new meaning when getting too far away from someone else leads to sheer destruction as is the case in Strangelands #1 from Humanoids Inc. The issue is written by Magdalene Visaggio and Darcie Little Badger, illustrated by Guillermo Sanna, colored by Bryan Valenza and lettered by A Larger World Studios.

Adam Land, an indigenous American, and Elakshi Land, a British-Asian, have what some might call "a love-hate relationship." They'd probably be better off without one another, except for the fact that they have superpowers that cause mass destruction whenever they are separated. Now, their greatest challenge is to stay together-even if it tears the world apart.

Writing duos can make a book feel a bit fractured in trying to merge two distinct voices together, but kudos to Visaggio and Badger for pulling it off. Adam and Elakshi are very much an odd couple of sorts, bound together by a necessity that they keep a relatively close proximity to one another at all times that would make even Quantum and Woody envious. Their dialogue is adept at exploring their relationship without explaining it, giving the reader a reason to stay engaged. Visaggio and Badger plot the majority of the first issue setting up this dynamic for the reader, giving them a glimpse of what their powers are and how their lives are intertwined with one another. This relationship occurs in parallel to another storyline where the writer are setting up the grander, overarching story that concerns the two of them and how the more global picture is coming into focus.

There's a very grounded approach to Sanna's artwork in that the style successfully presents the main characters as more normal looking than what their abilities make them out to be. In fact, all of the characters in the book feel grounded in some sort of reality, with none of them looking overtly extraordinary. Each character and object is presented with black lines that vary in thickness and provide a good means of contrasting various parts of clothing, physiques and the like. There's a lot of frenetic energy in the book that Sanna contains within organized panels that are fairly standard shapes and sizes. Valenza does a great job with colors, effectively capturing the brightness of a Shanghai day as contrasted with the darkness of a Colorado night.

Strangelands #1 offers an interesting premise and hits the ground running with it. Adam and Elakshi are looking for answers, but the reality is that the answers they find will likely do more harm than good. The script by Visaggio and Badger is sound and succinct, getting to the point without being overbearing about it. Sanna's approach to the artwork is pretty edgy and light on the details. Strangelands #1 is a solid first issue that's setting the stage for more action as the series unfolds.

Strangelands #1 is available now.