Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Story: Joe Harris
Artwork: Sebastian Piriz
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Release Date: 20th May 2020
Having been stuck inside for what feels like an eternity, the prospect of not only a new comic, but a new comic focused on travel seems like it could be just the thing. Now this being a new series from AfterShock, it’s safe to say that this isn’t going to just be some fun in the sun. No, we’re talking dark tourism. We’re taking a journey on roads less travelled and peering under the surface at the taboo or morally questionable.
Disaster Inc. follows the story of a company offering such risqué expeditions. Now I’ll be upfront and say that on that premise alone I was super keen to get my hands on this. I’m not overly familiar with Harris’ previous writing, but the sample art and lettering from Piriz and Mangual looked good, and I’ve always appreciated the appeal of roads less travelled; even if I wouldn’t walk them myself. In all honesty though, when I read more and found out this would be focused on Fukushima and the potential for spectral samurai, my enthusiasm took a wee bit of a knock. I was thinking more Hills Have Eyes, but I was still prepared to give it a try. Truth be told, I’m glad I did.
All in, this is an engaging enough debut issue for a new story. The intro manages to be both beautiful and unsettling, and quickly establishes that no one is safe. From the (perhaps more than a tad cliched) scientists getting the off through to the introduction of the protagonists, it’s an easy read. I can’t help but feel it follows a little too closely to movie plot sequencing, delivering the traditional characters and tropes. We’ve got the trust fund playboy, the unscrupulous businessman, the hard working woman keeping everything together, and the stranger who clearly has secrets. There’s not really anything new in this issue perhaps, save the overall concept. You know what though? It doesn’t really matter.
The art, like I say, is bright and breezy with lots of lovely touches. The use of the butterflies works so well that the overall effect is disarming. Obviously there’s a fine line to be walked when looking at something real for the purposes of entertainment, but the team here have taken liberties with storytelling whilst maintaining a sensibility to the very serious effects still ongoing today.
Overall then, this is a solid start with plenty of scope and possibility. There’s a real danger that this could become pedestrian, but fingers crossed it delivers on the promise of taking us on a journey down dark paths less trodden.
[UNLETTERED PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster