Advance Review – All Against All #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artwork: Caspar Wijngaard
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 7th December 2022

Set for release next month from Image Comics, All Against All sees Alex Paknadel and Caspar Wijngaard teaming up to paint a picture of a bleak future where the world as we know it is long gone and a powerful alien race breed preserved versions of Earth’s most savage animals – humans included – to help them wage an endless war.

What I particularly enjoyed about this first chapter is the way Paknadel drip-feeds the key details of the story throughout the course of the issue, letting us gradually grasp what’s going on rather than hitting us with a unwieldy lump of exposition right from the get-go. There are some fairly unconventional and potentially complex concepts being explored here, so this gentle approach actually works really well to help the reader immerse themselves in the story.

It also doesn’t hurt that the immersion process is being guided by Wijngaard’s truly distinctive artwork.  There’s a scratchy, chaotic energy to the proceedings here, particularly during the sequences which take place in the artificial ‘habitats’ (you can feast your eyes on one such sequence below), and the whole issue is picked out in a striking colour palette of pinks, greens and pale blues.  The character designs for the aforementioned aliens are brilliantly unconventional, and the layouts and narrative flow are, as expected, fluid throughout.

The story gradually takes shape over the course of the issue, with scientist B’Tay trying to reconcile his genetic research with the emphatic demands of his military superiors to continue to develop new bio-mechanical engines of war.  Throw in his son V’Lmann who is much more of the latter than the former, and an interesting development in the carnivore biome, and you have the recipe for a thoroughly gripping new series.

While science fiction comics are a dime a dozen these days, genuinely interesting sci-fi is a far rarer beast. And, as I had hoped from the moment I heard the creative team for this new series, All Against All has the potential to become something something truly memorable. An intriguing premise executed with real creative flair, it’s going to be fascinating to see what direction Paknadel and Wijngaard take this story in as it unfolds.  Consider me well and truly hooked.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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