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.

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