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 It may appear to be an unpublished Stephen King story, but the creative duo behind the series make it their own.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.

Nathan Edmondson and Brett Weldele Interview

Writer Nathan Edmondson (Olympus) and artist Brett Weldele (The Surrogates) have just launched a spectacular mini-series form Image called The Light. It’s a great new concept with suitably creepy and dramatic visuals. You can read my interview with the creative duo at Broken Frontier here.

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 ┬áput 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.

The Surrogates Trailer

Top Shelf’s excellent mini-series, Surrogates is now a film. The five issue mini-series was released in 2004 and 05, by first-time writer Robert Venditii (who used to work in Top Shelf’s mailroom) and artist Brett Weldele. The prequel from the same creators, titled Flesh and Bone is released in July, while the film follows in late September. You can get a feel for the movie by watching the new trailer below. It looks quite classy and perhaps more slick and action driven than its inspiration, and also appears to wear its I, Robot visuals on its sleeve, but that’s not a bad thing. You can see a preview of the comic, which is being released in new editions in July, here.

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