Writer: Neil Gibson
Artwork: Tasos Anastastiades
Colours: Jan Wijngaard
Letterer: Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou
Coming to Kickstarter on 15th April 2019
Ioseb is a man with nothing left to live for. When his father was cut down in the war, the toll it took on his mother robbed them of her health, their wealth and finally her life. Eking out his existence as a sheep farmer, Ioseb decides to end it all when the sheep become diseased and he is forced to put them down. Staring down the barrel of a gun and ready to face oblivion, Ioseb is stopped in his tracks by the sudden appearance of a strangely armoured alien visitor, stepping through what appears to be a hole in space, changing not only the course of Ioseb‘ s life but the course of history.
The Traveller, for me, is reminiscent of the sci-fi stories of my youth, particularly the Future Shocks of 2000 AD fame. This is a steam-punk, alternate history, dystopian sci-fi that takes you to some really unexpected places, and if you’ve ever read any of Neil Gibson’s other work you’ll already have a rough idea of what to expect. A lot of Gibson’s work has some fairly unflinching socio-political statements to make, and whilst this isn’t as brutal or nihilistic as some of his Twisted Dark stories, it still has some interesting twists and turns that will catch you off guard. The final denouement in particular took me completely by surprise.
The artwork by Tasos Anastastiades is a mixture of 3D modelling and inks that for the most part works, although I’m not a massive fan of CG artwork. I personally think the artwork loses a little of its character in this type of rendering, with the backgrounds and scenery in particular seeming to take a back seat in terms of detail and depth. There are some parts of the artwork on this story that I really did enjoy, and that I thought cleverly brought to life the world of Gibson’s narrative. I thought the realisation of Anya’s world was particularly effective, especially the contrast of the bright golds and blues of the impossibly high structures scraping the clouds with the turquoise depths of the sea bed and the workers in their Victorian style diving suits. The colouring by Jan Wijngaard is solid, but again, because of the CG format of the artwork, is lacking in depth.
Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou does a great job on the lettering. There has clearly been some serious thought put into the structure and the tone, for each character and situation and it did a great job of giving Gibson’s narrative a voice(s).
The star of this show is undoubtedly Neil Gibson, and while the quality of the artwork on its own normally wouldn’t be enough to hold my attention, I think Gibson’s writing is great and this is another solid addition to his impressive body of work.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek