Jonathan Hickman is the flavour of the month year. As he should be. Like David Mack, he seems to approach sequential art with wide eyed optimism. Perhaps he’s grown up reading superheroes his whole life like most other creators, but he doesn’t bring a stifling love affair of superhero conventions with him. What he does bring is a sense of bold experimentation to every project he works on that seems to push comics into a new realm.
Image Comics’ Nightly News is the prime example. Granted, it took me a while to adjust to its unique two-tone design and conspiracy laden journalistic themes, but it was different enough to be noticed. In his other books since, such as Transhuman and Red Mass for Mars, he has restricted himself to one credit – that of writer and has left the art duties to others, which has been hit and miss. But Hickman as either writer or artist is a hard act to follow. Even when he’s not creating the look of the interior pages, its obvious his intelligent eye is behind it. The Core is Hickman’s best looking book in which he has been scribe only. His collaborator here is Kenneth Rocafort, best known from his work with Paul Dini on Madame Mirage, also from Top Cow.
The Core is part of the Cow’s second Pilot Season event, in which fans are presented with 6 one-shots to choose from. The most popular two, as voted by fans on Top Cow’s MySpace page (complete with previews), are then given their own series. It’s a great idea for the fans and a wise one from the publisher, as it lessens the risk of publishing multiple titles somewhat. Twilight Guardian, Alibi, Lady Pendragon, Genius and Urban Myths are the other choices. I would expect Myths and The Core to win, but you never know.
The Core is seemingly familiar territory to Hickman fans. Thrown straight in to a galactic battle, a young human soldier becomes the next elite member of a Special Forces team. The tale is told primarily from his point of view as he relates his adventures to his father, upon whom a nice twist centres on in the last few pages. Hickman reminds me of George Lucas, except he’s a much better writer. The guy doesn’t know how to write small – his ideas are grandiose and there’s no better form of expression for big ideas than sequential art. Voting is now open for Pilot Season and the first five pages of The Core are below, in case you’re not sure of which way to vote. Rocafort isn’t afraid to use plenty of white and use eye catching layouts. His alien race and ship designs are also pleasing to the ocular cavities. See for yourself.