Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Story and Artwork: Rafael Albuquerque
Script: Mike Johnson
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Release Date: 7th October 2015 (available now via ComiXology – CLICK HERE)
While I absolutely loved the series on its initial release, even including it in my Top 5 Comics of 2015, I never actually sat down to put together a review of Dark Horse Comics’ EI8HT in its entirely. However, with the Covid-19 lockdown putting a halt to almost all new comic releases for the time being, I figured the time was right to start digging into some forgotten gems and sharing them with you fine people – and believe me folks, this is a miniseries that most definitely warrants your attention.
Originally released in Brazil as a webcomic, Rafael Albuquerque’s story – scripted here by Mike Johnson – introduces us to Joshua, a chrononaut who finds himself stranded in a strange dimension called “The Meld” with no firm memory of how he got there or what his mission is. He encounters a group of individuals who are living in the shadow of an oppressive regime headed by a man simply known as ‘The Tyrant’ and backed up by his vicious right-hand man ‘The Spear’. The Meld, it seems, is a nexus of sorts where travellers like Joshua end up, and features people, creatures and items from the world’s past, present and future. Oh, and dinosaurs, too.
Albuquerque’s artwork is of its typically high standard here, with a scratchy, heavily inked style that keeps the pages turning and perfectly captures both the action and emotional beats of the story. He also adopts a truly ingenious approach to the colouring of the book, with different colours being used to denote different timelines (the past is green, the future is blue, etc.), which initially sounds a little complicated but quickly becomes second nature as the story progresses.
There are some interesting different plot threads along the way, such as the moments leading up to Joshua’s “trip”, his reluctance to leave his terminally sick wife (who is herself his reason for going), and an entirely separate scientist who finds himself trapped in the prehistoric era during an ill-fated attempt to reach The Meld himself. It all comes together rather well in the end, and Joshua himself is a rather likeable protagonist who it’s difficult to not become invested in.
While the likes of Black Science took a vaguely similar premise and ran with it consistently for almost six years, Albuquerque still does a stellar job of delivering a smaller slice of time-and-dimension-hopping sci-fi fun which – in my opinion – more than holds its own against any five-issue run of Remender and Scalera’s Image Comics juggernaut. In fact, my only real criticism of this series is tied to its length, with an ever-so-slightly rushed conclusion which left me feeling like this might have read better as a six-part story rather than a five-part one.
This minor niggle aside, EI8HT is a time-travelling sci-fi series I simply can’t recommend highly enough and is one which showcases Rafael Albuquerque’s impressive writing talent alongside his already prodigious artistic skills.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]