The Light #2 Review

Nathan Edmondson and Brett Weldele make for a formidable duo on this new mini-series from Image. The writer of Olympus and artist of The Surrogates really do work well together, and there is a brave story being told within these pages. Yes, this issue has been out for 2 weeks now, but in order to catch up you can read the entire first issue for free here and Edmondson’s commentary on the same issue here.

The “elevator pitch” is that there’s a mysterious infection making contact with anyone who looks into a light source, killing them instantly. In this mad panic are thrust bad dad Cole and his initially skeptical daughter Avery. It may appear to be an unpublished Stephen King story, but the creative duo behind the series make it their own. The first issue was a remarkably bold exercise in dramatic storytelling. The status quo was set up with great economy before father and daughter woke up to their dangerous new world. Here, the confusion and running continue. The cliffhanger from last issue is not resolved yet, but I know it will be before the remaining 3 issues hit shelves.

The scale is larger here, while still remaining the simple glimpses of humanity that give The Light its appeal. The first few pages reveal Avery and Cole on the run, or rather drive, and arguing about Avery’s mother, before almost being destroyed by an airplane seeking a desperate landing. This sequence is handled particularly well, in that it’s not directed like a scene from an action film, but with a subtlety that lends genuine surprise. After wondering what their next step is, the pair find an understandably shocked survivor who seems genuinely unaware of the catastrophe around her.

Edmondson’s great afterword focuses on heroism, whereas it focused on interconnectivity in the debut issue, and it’s those two elements that are at the core of this engaging series. Whenever we are offered a glimmer of hope, The Light snuffs it out with reckless abandon. It’s the kind of page turner that we don’t have enough of in today’s comics, and I can already see myself grabbing the TPB as well as the individual issues, so I can share it’s raw magic with others.

Edmondson reveals superb skills at pacing within this taut tale and Weldele’s sketchy yet enchanting art is the best of his career and a perfect fit for the story of the darkness within the light.

The Light #1 Review

On sale April 14 is this excellent debut from Image. Written by scribe on the rise, Nathan Edmondson (the equally excellent Olympus) and art by the always dependable Brett Weldele (The Surrogates) this is a hard to resist welcome to a new 5 issue mini-series. The Light is bookended with an excerpt from a poem by Alfred Noyes and an afterword by Edmondson in which he ruminates on the engulfing rise of technology and interconnectivity. As the characters in this issue discover, “there is no escape from it.”

Edmondson wisely reveals very little, and dramatically kicks things off straight away. It’s a daring choice, but also one that makes perfect sense. I can’t imagine anyone picking up this first issue who won’t want to see what happens in the months to come. This is a comic written with intelligence and restraint. There’s no time to take a breath and catch up on exposition here.

It begins with middle-aged welder Coyle losing his job. It’s not soon before you realise that this “hero” is also a wife beater and alcoholic, as he returns home to his daughter (who he’s raising with his mother’s help) who he wants to avoid and the next bottle that he wants to befriend. So, not your typical protagonist, but mere moments later Coyle must man up. He wakes up in the early hours to his neighbour running down the street screaming to not look into the light. We soon discover, with Coyle, that “the light” is not a particular orb of incandescence hovering in the sky, but a much more dangerous threat – all light.

Putting on his welding goggles, and waking his disbelieving (though not for long) daughter Avery, he blindfolds her and leads her through suburban streets of chaos as those that do indeed look into lamp posts and light bulbs spontaneously combust with some sort of electrical discharge. It’s a no hold barred introduction to a new story, and one with a hectic pace.

Weldele’s art is absolutely perfect for this. It fits into Edmondson’s tale wonderfully. His moody, subtle renderings and contrast of light and dark  put an extra urgency onto these pages. It’s hard to imagine anyone interpreting this unique concept with greater visual flair. For those who may have found his minimalist approach to sci-fi in The Surrogates jarring, you’ll be much more welcoming here, as he shows that even suburban streets can be creepy.

Whether this is a national, or global outbreak is yet to be seen. There are no answers here, only confusion and fear, which puts the reader right in the running shoes of the survivors. From what seemed like a concept almost too simple (“Light as a killer?” Really?”) The Light will quickly erase any doubts with its crisp storytelling and horror premise.

Aussie + Boomerang = Superhero

I used to love reading the X-Men titles in the early ’90s, as the team was so international. The different accents (Nightcrawler’s German, Colossus’ Russian, Rogues’ Southern,etc) were all handled superbly and it served to give the book a real global flavour. Image’s new Guardians of the Globe series looks to offer up more ethnicity, as the name suggests. Image sent sneaky teaser images last week, seemingly revealing who the new members of the super team would be, including Barack Obama and Harry Potter. Huh?! Of course, it was all a nice in-joke, referencing Marvel’s earlier teasers revealing their new Avengers team.

Now, the real Guardians are making their presence known. The latest one (after Outrun and Brit) is, a new character I believe, called Kaboomerang. With his”yeah mate,” quote and earthen colour scheme I assume he’s an Australian, and and Aboriginal. Now, as an Aussie myself I can say that yes, I say “mate,” and I have thrown a boomerang in my time, but really? The only other Australian character in mainstream comics I can think of is the (now deceased) member of Flash’s Rogues Gallery. Yep, Captain Boomerang, an overweight stereotype who threw boomerangs and wore a handkerchief around his neck.

Granted, Kaboomerang, by the ridiculously yet somehow cool name alone seems to be a tongue in cheek character created with a sense of humour. Thanks must also go to writer Robert Kirkman for putting an Aboriginal hero in a superhero team, as Gateway, the Aboriginal mutant who sometimes aided the X-Men hasn’t been seen in years.

It’s just a shame that overseas exposure of Australia seems to be limited to spandex wearers throwing curved hunting implements, and kangaroos of the caged or boxing variety.

Todd McFarlane on Broken Frontier

The famous creator of Spawn and writer/artist on Spider-Man, and so much more is now a regular contributor to comics site Broken Frontier. The Image co-founder speaks about his gig on the Image series Haunt, the absence of long-term creative runs these days, and more in his first column right here. Here’s a snippet that’s sure to cause a stir in fanboy circles:

But for me, I don’t think and never believed you needed to define everything about a character within the first 10 issues or so.  I actually think it’s a detriment at times.  If you give the complete origin and background and motivation to a character in the first three issues, then What are you doing with the next 60 or 70 issues?

This is why Superman was never really that interesting to me.  He came out of the womb perfect, he was perfect, and he kept acting perfect.  Now keep that going for 500 issues.  It’s entertaining to a certain extent, but I would never name him in my top 10 heroes.  There were no flaws, no inconsistencies, and it never seemed like his character ever grew much.  He was prebuilt right from the get go, there was no mystery to him.

That argument is also one of the reasons why Wolverine was so popular in my heyday of collecting: we were screaming for more answers.  “What’s his origin?  Who does he belong to?  Why won’t you ever talk about him instead of Phoenix and Cyclops?!!”  And Marvel kept with that and after a while he became the most popular member of the X-Men because, in part because they were able to make his story engaging for a long time before they actually spilled the beans on him.

I’m hoping that Haunt has that same mystery about him where people don’t get to issue #15 and think they know all the answers. Because then it would devolve into superheroes punching each other for 60 more issues.

The Walking Dead On TV

This is good news. Image Comics’ long running zombie series is coming to TV. Press release below.

THE WALKING DEAD MARCH ON AMC
“Madmen” and “Breaking Bad” Network Greenlights Walking Dead Pilot

Variety reported today that Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s ongoing tale of survival horror in a post-apocalyptic world, THE WALKING DEAD, has been greenlit as a pilot by AMC.

“THE WALKING DEAD’s road to the small screen has been a long one, but so far it’s looking like the best of all worlds,” creator and writer Robert Kirkman said. “Given AMC’s track record with shows like ‘Madmen’ and ‘Breaking Bad,’ combined with Frank Darabont writing and directing, I couldn’t possibly be more excited for this to come together. Having the pilot greenlit is a huge leap forward to this becoming a reality.”

THE WALKING DEAD has been published by Image Comics since 2003, with the series’ 69th issue due in stores next week. Current plans are for the AMC series to closely adapt the storylines presented in the monthly comics.

In addition to the ongoing com ics series, there are 11 trade paperbacks currently in print, collecting issues 1-66, along with a series of five hardcovers covering #1-60. The first 48 issues have also been collected in two limited edition slipcased hardcovers and a softcover compendium. Across are formats the series remains a sales juggernaut with the title charting on the New York Times’ graphic novels bestsellers list numerous times.

“Since its debut in October 2003, THE WALKING DEAD has been nothing short of unstoppable,” said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. “Over the last five years, sales on both the single issues and the trade paperback and hardcover collections have gone from strength to strength, so it’s no surprise that THE WALKING DEAD is now poised for success on TV. Everyone at Image is very excited to see this project come to light.”

THE WALKING DEAD #69, a 32-page black and white comic priced at $2.99, will be on sale at finer comic book stores everywhere January 27.

The Light In April

Two of my fave creators are teaming up for what sounds like a great new series. Details from Image below.

IMAGE COMICS SHEDS THE LIGHT ON HORROR THIS APRIL!

Surrogates Artist Brett Weldele and Olympus Writer Nathan Edmondson Kick Off Tale of Survival Horror in April

This April Surrogates illustrator Brett Weldele and OLYMPUS writer Nathan Edmondson warn you to close your eyes in their five-issue tale of survival horror, THE LIGHT!

“THE LIGHT is everything I love about horror combined into one story,” Edmondson explained. “From a terror rooted in something everyone can relate to and broken protagonists doing their best to overcome absolute despair, this is the comic I’ve been wanting to read.  Brett brings it to life with stunning visuals that grow in intensity as the story progresses.”

In THE LIGHT, a mysterious virus infects anyone that looks into an electric light. The few survivors include a father escaping town with his blindfolded daughter as the infected burn alive from the inside out. A fierce, action-packed and gritty tale of survival, THE LIGHT is 28 DAYS LATER meets 30 DAYS OF NIGHT.

THE LIGHT #1, a 24-page full color comic book with a cover price of $2.99, will be available for order in the February issue of Previews and goes on sale April 14.

Nathan Edmondson Interview

Up now at Broken Frontier is my interview with Nathan Edmondson, writer of the excellent Image series Olympus. The TPB of the series exploring Greek mythology in the context of a modern action film is now out. Check out my interview here.

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