Wednesday, 30 May 2012

New Beginnings - Higher Earth #1

This week’s new comic is from Boom Studios, a relative baby in the comic book company stakes compared to the big two or publishers like Image and Dark Horse. However, having only been formed in 2005 has not stopped Boom from having some massive names on their credits list such as Abnett and Lanning, Mark Waid and Keiron Gillen to name just a couple. Their catalogue of titles is also very extensive with some well known brands too. They were the first comic book company to offer digital release copies of their comics on release day so they certainly haven’t been slacking either in the innovation stakes either.

Higher Earth is a brand new comic for them with no forerunner and no piggy backing from any other titles and at just $1 for the first issue it has a certain appeal too.

In a slightly similar way the writer, Sam Humphries, is also very new as well. Akin to Boom itself Sam also hasn’t been slacking and has been noticed by Marvel as an up and coming writer according to the rumours.

The story is set across multiple worlds not just the opening junkyard dystopia that the reader is greeted with. Here we have almost a slum landscape where survival of the fittest seems to be the main order of the day but also the fight for precious trinkets and novelties keep people going. Francesco Biagini has painted quite a devolved and dirty image and landscape, as if the land surrounding Mega City One in Judge Dredd had been introduced to the shanty towns of India. Our heroine, Heidi, is a native of this land and very quickly we are also introduced to Rex, a rogue soldier who knows a lot about her.

It seems that destiny has other ideas for Heidi and not on this Earth - we are quickly introduced to the concept that if you punch a hole through space you will find another Earth beneath you, and beneath that and so on. There are hundreds of different realities all stacked upon each other so why not move up through them instead? Given a mere minute to choose Heidi has to decide whether she is staying in the wastes or moving up through the realities. After a tumultuous arrival and gaining herself the illegal “immigrant” status she arrives in Sunshine Earth 9.

As far as stories go it’s certainly different but I found myself mentally referencing a number of different films where I felt influences had come from either in physical form or a subtle feeling. I’m sure the phrase “come with me if you want to live” wouldn’t have gone amiss. Even the artwork reflects this in some cases such as the final panel which lets the eye fall away into a massive city which is heavy in contrast to the previous pages.

My concern is that is it deep enough though? The artwork can come across sometimes a little shallow with faces not carrying as much emotion as other artists could, yet in other cases you get a fantastic spread of colour and landscape.

Humphries’ story also isn’t as deep as you may like. Details and ideas are presented - though not forced - in a convenient way as it needs to build a premise quickly. It does make it feel as if the first issue has been rushed though and you’re left knowing nothing about where it will go. This may be a massive draw for some but didn’t quite hook me.

Potentially still one to follow though; if Humphries is a new big name then this is where beginnings are also made.

Matt Puddy is preparing to love or loathe Before Watchmen...

1 comment:

  1. Apologies to everyone for the rubbish image quality in this article. All the images were uploaded at the usual resolution levels, but Blogger seemed to decide to compress them all yesterday.

    i've just drafted tomorrow's article and that seems fine, so I'm guessing it was just some technical gremlins at Google's end yesterday. Annoying, but such is life sometimes.