Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer/Artist: Scott Kolins
Released: 12th August 2015
Much as it’s always admirable to see writers draw their own material – or artists write their own material, whichever you prefer – it’s always something of a daunting task for said artist/writer. Scott Kolins is all too aware of this fact, and espouses as such on the first page of the book.
Much as you’ll be struck by the names he draws inspiration from, and much as it all seems to start so well, and much as the art is really rather beautiful, bringing a strange-but-familiar landscape to life with breath-taking detail and dynamism – much as it all seems like it should fit together beautifully, the wheels start to fall off almost immediately. And it’s unfortunately down to the fact that whilst clearly a singularly talented creator of sequential art, Kolins may need to work on his scripting just a smidge.
It’s clear that Kolins is attempting to construct an idiosyncratic dialogue structure for his characters – in the strain of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (the parts ‘after the fall’, that is) – and whilst it’s clear enough what is meant, it’s not quite as silky smooth as the mentioned novel/film. Ultimately – though this may well be a commentary on my own (possibly obtuse) reading – I found myself hitching every so often in my attempts to process the dialogue properly, and it broke the flow of the book rather profoundly.
This is coupled with a rather disjointed plot that’s got no clear direction as yet. I can appreciate the desire to build a compelling mystery at the centre of one’s story, but here, a mysterious world is substituted for an actual mystery, and whilst it’s beautifully rendered, it’s just not compelling enough on its own to really draw you in.
There’s room to grow here, much as it pains me to give that backhanded compliment to what is clearly a labour of love from Kolins, but whilst there’s a strong setting on the go, there’s just not that much filling it right now, with only hints at what the edges of this reality have in store for us. I would love for him to prove me wrong, because he’s created a superficially beautiful comic, and with a bit of effort, the seemingly hollow interior can be filled with delicious creamy plot. We’ll see what the next issue holds, I guess.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24