Writer: Lee A. Carlisle
Artist: Ross Carlisle
Colours: Marina Goncalves
Release Date: Volume 1 (issues 1-5) funding on Kickstarter until November 15th 2022 – CLICK HERE
The first issue of Orphans of the Impact Winter introduces us to a young boy named Chuck as he and his faithful dog Addie try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where the moon is literally falling from the sky. However, in order to cope with the horrors unfolding around him, Chuck has created an internal narrative where he and Addie are dynamic explorers in a colourful fantasy world. This first issue shows the pair navigating the landscape in search of supplies while both the narrative and visual style shifts back and forth between fantasy and reality.
It’s an ingenious move and, as previously seen with the likes of Spencer & Locke and The Leftovers/The War for Kaleb, makes for a truly gripping read when done well. And I’m happy to report that brothers Lee A. Carlisle and Ross Carlisle execute their premise remarkably well here, rapidly drawing the reader into Chuck and Addie’s tragic story.
Ross, alongside colourist Marina Goncalves, does a fantastic job in delivering two completely different visual styles throughout the course of this first issue. Goncalves’ palette shift is truly striking, taking us from bright, vibrant, cartoony colours to a bleak, almost monochrome aesthetic at the turn of the page. Similarly, Ross delivers two completely different styles of linework for each ‘version’ of the story, going from a bold, exaggerated, almost fantastical approach in Chuck’s imagination to a scratchy, far more realistic style in the moments of harsh reality.
There’s one particularly heartbreaking moment near the end of the issue that I won’t spoil for you, but which features Chuck being forced to take a desperate, traumatic step to replenish the pair’s depleted food supplies. These two wordless pages are delivered pretty much perfectly, and provide the emotional backbone that will no doubt carry the series throughout the remaining four issues.
For me, the really intriguing part is going to be finding out how the rest of this five-part story unfolds. Honestly, the framing and delivery of this first issue is strong enough that it could easily be a perfectly satisfying one-shot, so seeing how the Carlisle brothers expand their premise into a full story arc is going to be truly fascinating.
Orphans of the Impact Winter delivers a surprisingly layered look at the way we process trauma and how it’s sometimes easier to retreat into fantasy rather than face up to painful reality. It comes highly recommended, and if you need any more convincing, you can read the first issue in its entirety absolutely FREE at OrphansoftheImpactWinter.com. And once you’ve done so (and presumably loved it), you should head right over to the official Kickstarter Campaign page and get it backed! Trust me, you won’t regret it.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]