Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Djibril Morisette-Phan
Colours: K. Michael Russell
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Release Date: 7th September 2016
First things first: the art in this opening issue is HOT. Like a cross between Fiona Staples and Sean Murphy, Djibril Morisette-Phan launches his professional comics career with a fantastic piece of work. Sickeningly young, Morisette-Phan has a great grasp of characterisation, important in a story that is dialogue heavy and has more than a few pages of talking heads. He also knows his way around an action beat, thankfully.
That brings us to the story: Glitterbomb opens with a dynamic and gore-filled scene in which the lead, an aging actress called Farrah, murders her agent with a barbed, prehensile tongue, similar to that seen in ‘The Strain’. Blank-eyed, Farrah unwittingly lobotomises her agent just as he’s telling her that he needs “an angle”.
We flashback then to see how Farrah ended up with this strange talent. She’s at an audition where she has to face the ignominy of a younger actress telling her she’s “ancient”, and her son’s babysitter haranguing her about the amount of time she’s left looking after the kid.
In between, Farrah has a bit of a breakdown at the beach, and is swept into the current where it seems that she’s possessed by some ancient (gettit?) being that wants to feed on her pain, and the meatstuffs of L.A. That she kills a homeless guy before moving onto her agent suggests that not only is Farrah not in control of her new powers, but that she may not be morally-directed in her actions either.
For an opening issue that contains a couple of gruesome action beats, not a huge amount happens. Writer Jim Zub is taking his time with the setting-up process – he seems more interested in Farrah’s life and her challenges than in the weirdness that’s going on around her, and as a reader, it’s hard not to agree. In some ways, the more compelling narrative here is Farrah as an aging actress and single mum. This narrative focus is backed-up by an essay at the end of the issue where Holly Raychelle Hughes lifts the seedy lid on her experiences of misogyny in the movie industry.
Less compelling is the weird-ass possession stuff – we don’t know at this stage what it is, why it chose Farrah, and why it wants to feed on humans. As mentioned earlier, the targets of this violence vary too, and in a way that suggests this isn’t going to be a straight-forward satire.
While I’d have liked a stronger opening in a book I’ve been looking forward to for a while based on the solicits, Zub is a strong writer with a great way with dialogue, and a sympathetic approach to his main character, so I’m keen to see where it goes. Morisette-Phan’s artwork, combined with K. Michael Russell’s soft, subtle colouring give the book a nice Vertigo-vibe, and while I can’t score this issue highly in and of itself, I’d recommend it. I’m keen to see where this goes.
Rating: 3/5 (but definitely one to keep an eye on)
[Click to Enlarge]