Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: David Andry
Artwork: Alejandro Aragon
Colours: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Release Date: 17th July 2019
A decade ago the first Wave hit and humanity was devastated. Driving mankind’s worst impulses and urges to the point of horrific destructive obsession, the Waves keep coming and the survivors must choose either to fight them or revel in the insanity. Today, deep in the woods and sheltered from the world, Paxton raises his three children alone, safe and (hopefully) prepared for when the next Wave hits. However, when he is forced to make a trip to find medicine for his chronically ill son, Paxton must trust that he has taught his children to protect themselves well enough and that no pitfalls await him on the road.
This week I have had the great privilege of reading not just one but the first two issues of Vault’s new series, Resonant. There are plenty of post-apocalyptic survival stories out there, making this is a really tough genre to break into unless you’ve got something special to offer. Well, I can say unequivocally that Resonant has something special to offer.
The first thing that really stands out is the concept of the Wave itself. There are so many directions they could take this aspect of the story that it hooked me immediately. Where do you go to in your darkest moments, those times when you’re screaming inside? The urge to drag a razor across your throat, peel off your own skin, or maybe someone else’s? The human mind can conjure truly horrifying and terrible things, and for the most part we are able to filter them out, suppress them. But what if you couldn’t? What if you couldn’t pull yourself back from acting on those impulses? The bigger question, where is The Wave coming from? Is it aliens, is it biological, environmental, terrorism, a government experiment gone wrong? Right now, I can’t even begin to guess but it’s going to be a great ride finding out.
Looking at the rest of the story, of course there are going to be comparisons with The Walking Dead and a hundred other similar titles, but I personally found myself drawing comparisons with Crossed, as it has that darker edge to it that I just love. I think a lot of the comparison might also be a lot to do with the character design, which has a similar feel to Jacen Burrows’ work. What starts as a simple enough set up of a family trying to survive the apocalypse escalates bloodily and horrifically with a speed that is truly dizzying.
The characters that we get to meet in these first two issues are fantastic. Paxton’s kids are superb. They’re capable and they’re hard, but, and this is hugely important, they’re still kids. So many times I’ve read similar stories where the kids are basically battle scarred special forces operatives, mini Frank Castles, and they’re just not interesting. Bec, Ty and Stef are relatable, they play tricks on each other, they play games together, and they will defend each other to the death. Paxton is a good father, he doesn’t take unnecessary risks and he’s hard when he has to be without sacrificing his humanity. Ultimately, I care for this family, I want to see them come through whatever lies ahead, knowing that it’s not going to be easy, even this early in the series.
The passing lunatics, the religious fanatics and the denizens of Hospitality are all fascinating, ugly, and, where necessary, terrifying. This is where the artwork really blows you away. The artwork is exactly that, it’s art. There is a lot of horror and ugliness and suffering in these first two issues and the way it’s presented on the page is just incredible. But there is also a lot of beauty, in the interactions of the children and their obvious love for and fear for each other, in the way nature is claiming back the world, in the peaceful moments. Watercolour is such a good medium for comics, and the mixture in this series with other texture methods works superbly. The titles I’ve read recently from Vault have had some incredibly good artists involved with them, These Savage Shores being a perfect example, and RESONANT is another title where the publisher’s continued investment in exceptional talent is really paying off.
This is a great start to what looks to be another hit for a publisher that is rapidly becoming one of my favourites this year.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek