In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

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This beautiful film is about self sacrifice and submitting to the awesome forces of nature. What this film is not about is a monstrous whale. The narrative is clearly divided. One follows Tom Nickerson’s journey from innocence to experience. Meanwhile, we discover Chase and Pollard’s hubris downfalls.
Thematic approach is tantamount to Howard’s Apollo 13. We’re presented with a story of people shaking loose their societal safety net and rediscovering their strengths in the volatile nature. Also much similar in theme is how space wasn’t an active agent yet it was always dangerously close to our Apollo astronauts. Similarly, the white whale constantly lurks beneath the dark waters reminding us of death’s indiscriminate hold on everyone and everything.
First we’re introduced to an old Nickerson who is convinced by Melville to relay his tale of the fateful journey of Essex. As he flashes back, a young Nickerson discovers the inherent brutality of nature. Although eager to set sail on the ocean, the ocean quickly greets Nickerson with helpings of sea sickness. Although excited to join his first whale hunt, as harpoons slice into mother whales while their calves flee, he is quickly burdened by the savagery. In addition, the boy’s size unfortunately grants him the ability to crawl inside the whale cavity and scoop out oil. This imagery builds up tension until Nickerson finally reveals his most dreadful secret.
We also watch Chase and Pollard become diminished by forces of nature. When we begin their tale, they are both men trying to live up to their families’ expectations. Although each man has a different history, Pollard points out that he was born into whaling while Chase was born to do the job. However, both men are arrogant to a fault. Pollard fails to conquer a storm, while Chase fails to fill the ship with scarce whale oil. Their onboard resources become depleted while they struggle to find people to trade with. The voyage slowly strips away their status, command, mission, and resources until the godlike whale finally takes everything away.
The 3D presentation is a wonderful treat. Instead of going for the poke your eye out entertainment, the 3D and coloring made long shots pop with beautiful and vivid contrasts. Each shot looked like a 19th century oil painting. Also, instead of zooming close for dialogue shots, they would creatively use the 3D to sculpt the foreground and use the illusion of depth to frame each shot. It’s always a welcome treat when directors don’t use the 3D tech as a gimmick.
All the actors did a very fine job, and bravo to being able to put in those performances while filming on water. Even the small supporting roles shown brightly. In fact, Michelle Fairly 19th century naturalism, Cillian Murphy sober desperation, or Jordi Molla haunting narration stole the spotlight.
Although Ron Howard is a master of style, each film is very well distinguished film. This doesn’t look like a Howard film. It looks and feels like a 19th century epic. He has a wonderful ability to embrace his subject’s story and not let anything or anyone interfere with its identity. He allows the movie to subtlety reveals itself. For example, instead of quoting scripture or subverting the religious subtext of Moby Dick, he quietly places a priest in the background to help nail down the underlying meaning of this epic. Not only is this movie worth watching, but also it worth watching multiple times.

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SoD : Let There Be Aliens! (A Critical Review of Mass Hysteria)

Lately, the news headlines have actually been interesting. It is not the fact that satirist have finally drawn the line, or that we are oppressing them their artistic expression. but it’s the fact that other people or other organizations are actually attacking them, fatally attacking them in some cases. A lot of people seem to be wondering why people believe strongly in these fictional depictions of their deities, and why are they so mad?
It reminds me of when I was a child. One of the big scary topics that most people can relate to being terrifying is child abduction, and this was deathly hot topic when growing up. For me, I never feared those strangers in the trench coats and the black fedoras or whatever the propaganda depicted them to be.

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I thought the most terrifying child abductors were alien abductors. I mean, while I was alone at night shivering under my blanket in my ninja turtle PJs, I how would seriously imagine that aliens were outside my window just staring at me waiting for their chance to take me. I believe these aliens had actually conquered space and time. They have evolved to a point that we humans no longer identified with them biologically. Their whole conquest, their whole soul purpose in their whole history of their very being in this universe was to become the most sophisticated advanced child predators. That was my conclusion.

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I know. I was a very impressionable young lad and quite honestly that’s probably not the most bizarre thing I used to be terrified of while growing up. Nonetheless, hear me out before you place judgment. The reason why I had this terrifying belief was because of Steven Spielberg. the master storyteller himself. I blame Spielberg. Here’s why.
In 1977 Steven Spielberg chose to release a movie that was entitled Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There was actually a scene depicting a child abduction by aliens, so it wasn’t quite unfounded. Yes, I know that was a movie. How dare I compare reality to a movie?

What type of alien did you imagine, standing outside my window, staring at me, and waiting for the perfect opportunity to take me and utilize their anal probe technology? Were they short gray people with bug eyes, big black bug eyes with a big noggin? Most of western society would agree with you. That mass hypnosis was because of Steven Spielberg. He made that possible for us all in 1977 when he released Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This is the first time we ever saw an alien like that. Take a second and realize that our culture, our minds, our imagination is collectively conjuring up an alien creature which did not exist before 1977.

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Now, here’s the preposterous thing. Here is the idea that makes one question reality. In the 1990s, there was a huge ordeal about this released film called the alien autopsy. Our culture tried to retcon our Alien continuity. A lot of people pitched this film not as a fictional depiction of aliens being dissected, rather this was being pitched as rediscovered film evidence of an alien that was recovered from the Roswell crash. Supposedly, this was a Roswell alien being dissected before our very eyes. Guess what? It was a little gray alien. To this day, although the film footage we all saw was faked, people say it was very closely based on a real film reel of an alien autopsy. This is unbelievable. Despite the cinematic evidence, despite the fact that these types of aliens completely do not exist in all the universe, we still for some reason hold on to this belief, this cultural belief that if we did have an alien autopsy film it would most definitely look like that.

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Now, this is like saying we found uncovered photographic evidence of Mickey Mouse being dissected because Mickey Mouse, just like the aliens Spielberg created for his movie, is only an artist depiction of something fictional.
I find it amazing that storytellers can actually pull things like this off. This is the foundation of movie magic. There’s no way a young Steven Spielberg had the foresight to believe that his movies, Jaws and Close Encounters, were going to create a small form of mass hysteria which would last for generations.
So, I’d like to talk about Orson Welles because he also attributed to our mass hysteria towards aliens, and yes, I’m talking about his broadcast that happened on October 30, 1938. For those who don’t know, Orson Welles did a radio broadcast of War of the Worlds. In fact, it was so magnificently produced and enacted, there were people who actually believed that we were being invaded by Martians. It was done so well there are conspiracy theories dedicated to how the production was pulled off.
Before we start imagining farmers running outside with their shotguns looking into the starry night wondering where these Martians were, we have to understand the culture and mindset of the people during that time. The world had just experienced the first great war. At the time, The Great War itself achieved the highest body count and committed violent atrocities that were previously unfathomable. Then the western world sunk into the Great Depression. Now, that farmer we imagined running out all excited like. He’s more than likely getting his farm taken away, and his livelihood, his tradition of being a farmer was nearing its end. Unbeknownst to many was the only light at the end of the tunnel was that his unemployment would end by becoming a soldier for the second great war World War II. Many people like this farmer were about to go overseas and be put on the front line and undoubtedly face their own annihilation. When one is put into this very bleak and stressful situations, our mind has a tendency to be very malleable, very easy to manipulate. It becomes a sponge towards very well told stories which give our lives a little bit of wonder.
This belief system is something that humans never actually evolve past. This is something that still prevails today. People find themselves facing the lowest point of their lives. These day-to-day lives which are mediocre, repetitive, and monotonous. Most of the workforce in the “better” parts of the world consists of servitude and labor. Then life can throw a curve ball and your phone has a tragic message. Maybe it’s about infidelity, miscarriage, terminal illness, fatal accident or any number of everyday things. Then maybe you look up in the sky and you see an epic battle between angels and dragons, and all of a sudden fate handed you your chance to redeem your mundane existence. I am not saying this will happen. However, there are millions of people out there who believe Revelations is a possibility. It’s simply because most religious texts are righteously told stories.

Because my mind has an inclination towards all things SciFi, it makes me ponder. If it hadn’t been L Ron Hubbard who wrote those atrocious Battlefield Earth stories, instead SciFi religion sprung out of the minds of the master storytellers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, I have definitely been devoted. That’s how belief systems work. Whatever story can fool you into suspending your disbelief, that point where it starts merging with your cognition, that is where anything’s possible. In conclusion, all I am really trying to say is there should be caution taken when one is trying to satirize people’s beliefs and the stories that they treasure.

Warren Ellis’ Moon Knight

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Within six issues, Warren Ellis decided to bring Moon Knight back to something that reflected the original vision of Doug Moench. In particular, Ellis wanted to shift Moon Knight away from the awful multiple personality that had predominated much of Moon Knight’s character of recent years.
These six cerebral issues haunt the existence between the land of the dead and the living.
In issue four, Ellis commentary on death begins to take form and cast its macabre shadow beyond the comic book boarders and into our world. The surreal and psychedelic depictions in this issue question the setting of Moon Knight and whether or not any of the events taking place are actually happening.
Each antagonist Moon Knight faces is a twisted reflection of Mr. Knight. In the first issue, the first piece of new information Ellis gives is Moon Knight having an imaginary argument with Wolverine and Daredevil. Not only does this establish Moon Knight as an unreliable narrator, but also he believes he’s at odds with Marvel’s superhero community. This issue progresses to Moon Knight tracking down an ex Shield agent who had also been casted out of the organization. The antagonist tracks down and medically cannibalize his victims in hopes to make himself stronger and worthy of being an agent again. Who can better understand this morbid logic than the insane antihero who seeks redemption through his own insane acts?
Each issue begins with a piece of prose depicting the origin of Moon Knight. Marc Spector was a mercenary who did horrible things until one day he found himself left for dead at the feet of a Khonshu statue. Since the night Spector died, he has vowed to redeem his past transgressions. In issue two we are introduced to six seemingly unconnected people finishing up their business day. However, when each person falls victim to a sniper’s bullet, the story begins stitch itself into a single narrative. When Moon Knight begins the chase, the story collapses into a single narrative about a mercenary who took revenge on his former employers who left him for dead. Ellis bring this chapter to a poetic close. Although the distant projection of death is power, these weapons are never suppose to come back to punish their owners.
These parallels don’t become as blatant until issue three where Marc Spector fights specters haunting the streets of New York, or in issue six when Black Specter wants to become Moon Knights mirrored reflection. In order to defeat the specters, Mr Knight had to fully embrace the personification of death. In a brilliant and well paced fight, issue five is a Game of Death style plot showcasing Moon Knight defeating five floors of gangsters. By the issue’s conclusion, we see every action of Moon Knight’s has a cold and unstoppable finality.
In this series, we have drifted away from the multiple personality disorder. Instead Ellis had taken an eloquent and gothic approach to crafting a story about a man who was traumatized by his own actions. In order to cope and survive, he killed off Marc Spector and became Moon Knight or the personification of death itself. Like his ex lover said Marc Spector rather didn’t exist or never came back from the dead. Now, Because Mr Night still carries massive amounts of guilt and trauma, he views every villain as his own personal antagonist. Ellis’ has rooted Moon Knight once again and gave Brian Wood and other future writers plenty to work with.

Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters (Review)

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Writer: Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis once wrote a haunting Thunderbolt’s story arc called Faith in Monsters. This story tied directly into the Marvel’s Civil War era. Marvel’s United States had been rocked by the Superhuman registration act. This law required all vigilantes to “unmask” themselves and register their identities with the government. Because this paralleled with similar laws of Nazi Germany, a schism formed between Captain America and Iron Man which lead to Captain America’s assassination by Bucky Barnes. During this time, Norman “Green Goblin” Osborn has been given the chance by Tony Stark to form a new team of Thunderbolts. They are given the task of enforcing the mutant registration act. This is the context Warren Ellis’ new incarnation of Thunderbolts takes place. The Thunderbolts are a team unlike other Marvel Teams because its ranks only include B-list villains. Ellis version is no different. This team is comprised of Venom, Songbird, Penance, Moonstone, Radioactive Man, Swordman, and Bullseye while having Green Goblin as its director. However, unlike other incarnations of this team or other antihero mashups, Warren Ellis’ team is brutal and uncompromising. Warren Ellis style of writing often incorporates real world psychological profiles for his characters, and that style adds an extra element of horror to this story arc. Each member has their own unique sociopathic identity which are all revealed over the course of interviews with each member of the team. Bullseye achieves a rush of euphoric emotions whenever he kills no matter who it is or the reason why he does it. This creates a perverse and godlike affinity which is also void of any sense of morality. Then there’s the Swordsman who crafted a fetish by wrapping the hilt of his sword with his dead sister’s flesh. With this incestuous tinged belief that this bond grants him power, the sword is used to slay his victims. Moonstone is a psychologist who is a master of manipulation and had made several of her patients commit suicide for her own sadistic enjoyment. The masochist Penance wears a suit similar to an iron maiden and believes his power stems from the pain he inflicts upon himself. Venom’s description of his relationship with his symbiotic alien sounds similar to a burnt out junkie describing their need for angel dust, complete with the homicidal rampages balanced with feelings of inadequacies and paranoia. Then there’s Songbird who would be simple B-list superhero if it wasn’t for her attraction towards genocidal psychopaths like Baron Zemo. What’s interesting is how Ellis is able to pull the reader into the morbid and oppressive world of these killers. These are all psychological profiles pulled from real life serial killers, which have been featured on countless news programs. What is worse is Norman Osborn is the puppetmaster of these sociopaths. It’s a what if tale about someone like Hemler having control over an elite military unit comprised of people like Ted Bundy, Albert Fish, and Charles Manson. So why does the U.S. Government allow such a situation to happen in the first place? It’s the old fallacy of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. After all, who would know how to challenge the Masks better than the villains? As the story progresses Ellis uses his FIX news broadcast to make satirical comments about the governments morally questionable decisions and how its laws affect the citizens it claims to protect. One section highlights how S.H.I.E.L.D. renamed Superheroes as Unregistered Combatants. This is similar to the real world example of the C.I.A. arbitrary use of Freedom Fighters versus Terrorists. This sounds like a hard pill to swallow for millions of Americans who have been saved countless times over the years by people like Captain America and Spider Man. However, Ellis rips a page from Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop, and he employs the use of news sensationalism and marketing as weapons against the Superhero community. For example, interspersed among the news segments are toy commercials promoting the Thunderbolts. This along with the government’s bias spin in their public statements assures the public that these unregistered combatants are a threat to American citizens. Now, it’s quite natural for the readers to feel the dissonance between themselves and the oppressive and villainous regime. In order to make this story connect, Warren Ellis also employs C-list superheroes such as American Eagle, Jack Flag, Steel Spider and ShadoWoman. These are the if you blink you may miss them heroes of Marvel’s continuity. Why use these heroes instead of the VIPs we’re all use to? While Captain America and company carry an aura of fame, C list heroes are everyday nobodies from Main Street. This allows us to see how the moral weight of such laws like the Registration Act would burden everyday people. American Eagle is a retired hero who is lured into stopping his community forming a lynch mob, ShadoWoman is a heartbroken metahuman simply trying to find a source of income, and Steel Spider is a lonely but disturbed individual with an answering machine full of messages from worried loved ones and obsessive bill collectors. Not only does each one have relatable personalities, but also each one is morally challenged with doing what is right versus breaking the law. For example, Jack Flag and his wife Lucy are a lower class couple struggling to survive in their urban neighborhood. Jack and Lucy witness a gang harassing a female victim, and we’re lead to believe this isn’t the first time they’ve witnessed this gang commit such atrocities on women. If someone was to call the cops, they wouldn’t reach this part of the ghetto in time, even if they did bother to show up. Although Jack Flag’s glory days are long gone, Jack Flag isn’t going to stand idly by in fear of the consequences and watch another innocent become victimized. After all, everyone probably is or knows someone who has reached out or intervened in a situation in hopes of stopping a violent escalation. Therefore, Jack is no different than any of the readers, and this is when Ellis finally humanizes the story. Before Ellis could reveal the first heroic moment of the series, the readers had to understand that the consequence is being hunted down by government sanctioned sociopaths. Jack Flag is no different. After witnessing a well paced and beautifully illustrated stand off between Jack Flag and the Thunderbolts, Jack Flag is left paralyzed and sent to a Guantanamo Bay for masks. Although this is a traumatizing moment, Ellis goes on to sprinkle some dashes of hope on top of the bleak nihilism. Remember no matter how much the readers want to cheer for the underdog superhero, the chilling fact remains this is a Thunderbolts series. By incorporating different writing styles and capitalizing on the medium, Warren Ellis crafted an ageless political commentary.

 

PhxCC2014: Spotlight on James O’Barr

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During the 2014 Phoenix Comic Con, James O’Barr sat down for a panel in which he discussed the history and future of The Crow and himself. The following are only a few of the many topics O’Barr covered during his presentation and Q&A.

At the age of eighteen James O’Barr experienced the most profound and tragic event of his life. After all these years, it’s still difficult for O’Barr to talk about the loss of his fiance who was killed in a drunk driving accident. In order to escape from this reality, O’Barr enlisted in the military. Because O’Barr knew Latin, he worked as a translator. During his tours of duty in France and Germany, O’Barr picked up local graphic novels and was inspired to painfully scratch out his first graphic novel, The Crow. James O’Barr explained it took eight years to finish because, “it felt like fucking an open wound”.

It’s fascinating how the iconic crow was almost a rabbit because James O’Barr was fascinated by the Alice in Wonderland phrase, “crazy as a march hare”. However, his artistic representation of the rabbit didn’t fit the style and mood he was aiming for. Instead, O’Barr settled on using The Crow. Because crow feed on the dead, he felt they more symbolically represented his tormented protagonist Erik Draven and himself.

When discussing his philosophy towards himself and his work, James O’Barr talks about how everyone is damaged to some degree. He just wears his on the outside. He further explains that in order to grow as an artist, one must learn to fail. It’s only through failure we learn to grow as a person. When looking back, failure, anger, and self destruction had defined most of O’Barr’s life.

During the Crow’s publication O’Barr also worked at Spin Magazine. He would go onto befriend brooding musicians, such as Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. Reznor and other artists would often talk highly of The Crow and it came as no surprise that record stores rather than comicbook stores would carry issues of The Crow. One can’t think of The Crow movie without remembering the moody soundtrack. With the exception being The Cure, everybody on the soundtrack was a personal friend of James O’Barr.

O’Barr is still an angry old man, but he may have finally found peace with some of the ghosts which have haunted him since his youth. He has learn to focus his self destructive energy into his art style. In addition, he is developing a kinship with his fans. James O’Barr understands that The Crow has resonated with millions of people around the world by helping his fans through their own darkest moments. Unlike the times from his youth when O’Barr’s brooding and anger made even his contemporaries like Mike Mignola nervous, O’Barr welcomes people to approach and engage him in discussion and opens his panels thirty minutes early with dick jokes and laughter.

So, what about the Crow reboot? James O’Barr is hopeful. As great as the original was, this time the audience may get a more faithful adaptation of the original Crow graphic novel. There is no doubt the original Crow movie was a great representation of the underground 90’s culture, but it would be nice to see a truer adaptation of The Crow. To make that happen O’Barr has kicked away royalty checks in favor of being an executive producer. O’Barr is currently entitled to work closely with the director, screenwriter, and production staff. They have also agreed to let him call back his musician friends to help with the soundtrack. The look and style is suppose to emulate 70’s movies such as Taxi Driver. So much so that they are currently looking for 70’s film stock. Nevertheless, perhaps one of the important aspects is the reboot’s depiction of violence. As O’Barr spills out another anecdote about driving to the hospital with his stomach bleeding out, he reminds us that the depiction of violence and pain should be brutal and honest. Besides, isn’t that why we love The Crow after all these years?

Update

Due to inaccuracies, the information on Gary Reed and his Caliber Comics has been retracted. If you would like to know more about Gary Reed and the History of Caliber Comics, please visit Reed’s blogs where he discusses Caliber Comics in great depth

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Powers: The Bureau Vol 1 (2014) Review

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STORY BY Brian Michael Bendis

ART BY Michael Avon Oeming

COLORS BY Nick Filardi

LETTERS BY Chris Eliopoulos

It’s part welcome back partner part crime involving kidnapping women. We are quickly reintroduced to Power’s veterans Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker before Bendis throws us into batshit crazy hijinks that makeup the Power’s world. Bendis seems to always shine the most when he is able to cleverly take familiar and ridiculous themes from popculture or other lore and twist them into a different direction. This story arc is no different. We discover that someone is knocking up women, and sometimes men too, with power super sperm which forces them to incubate a kryptonite infused xenomorph which births like one can imagine. Yep, if you’re thinking WTF?, you are a normal human being. However, that’s part of the writing style Power’s readers love about this series.

Powers is a great companion to the super hero world because Bendis builds its foundation and humor off of asking what it would be like to live in a world of superheros. However, this isn’t a nihilistic Moorian take. Instead Bendis will ask questions like,”Would Superhero Groupies buy Power’s Sperm off the Black Market so they can have Power babies?”, or “Can undercover cops exist in a world with psychics?”.

Furthermore, the readers couldn’t ask for better characters to guide us through this world. Each panel gushes with humor because of the Agent Pilgrim’s foul mouthed quips and Agent Walker’s stonefront sarcastic retorts. Their banter combined with Pilgrim’s neurotic personality and Agent Walker’s sordid Power’s backstory fleshes out their dynamic personalities, and it’s a consistent pleasure to see how the agents will handle each new situation.

Because Oeming’s minimalist art style has flourishes like deep shadows and sharp and defined lines which creates a noir tonality, it perfectly compliments the crime procedural theme. The style could be compared to Batman: TAS with the coloring opting for gold rather than blue tones. Also, Oeming’s artwork is also just as over the top as the plot. Each fight scene is godly and brutal, each power ability is eery and luminescent.

There’s never a dull moment in this series. Each twist or new plot point will make any comic book lover smile and soak in the gritty behind the scenes take on living in a powers world. If the reader isn’t laughing at the human element, they are mesmerized by the incredible action from the Powers.

 

Grade: A+

Black Science Vol. 1 (2014) Review

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STORY BY Rick Remender

ART BY Matteo Scalera

COLORS BY Dean White

Black Science is a genre redefining science fiction epic. Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera take us on a reality hoping adventure with a team of flawed ego-maniacal scientists. They’ve just finished building “The Pillar” which allows people to travel to alternate dimensions. They describe it like an onion, the Pillar slides them down through layers of reality to presumably arrive at the core and foundation to all realities. Nevertheless, all is not well since the Pillar had been sabotaged and is constantly jumping the team from one hostile dimension to the next.

Although each jump usually leads the team to a more desperate location, to stay behind will inevitably forfeit their chances of ever going home. With the diminishing crew dying off, even if they choose to carry on who knows how long until it leads to their ultimate destruction. Meanwhile, there’s the chance the Pillar itself is cracking through realities and making all of existence unstable.

Unlike other similar stories such as Fantastic Four, Lost in Space, or Sliders, Remender always puts the danger in the foreground. The peril and doom is just as prominent as any character whether it’s coming from sources such as Frog Warriors, possessed primates, or getting caught in a genocide war or much more. It also serves as the primary motivation for Grant and the team to get everyone back to their own reality. If that wasn’t enough, there’s constant inner-group conflict revolving around power struggles and trust.

As the story progresses, we discover that the team has just as many layers as an Onion. In many stories a character like Grant would be the hero or all round good guy; however, Remender doesn’t insult the readers with stereotypes, cliches, or overused tropes. Instead, Remender likes to bring healthy doses of realism to his characters. From little Pia to Kadir, each is well defined with their own personal flaws, self absorbed motivations, as well as their brilliance and fearlessness. A large amount of tension stems from conflicts between all these very diverse set of characters. This isn’t to say the characters aren’t likable. In fact, not only are the readers able to connect to these characters, but also their realistic portrayal helps anchor us down in this unbelievable epic. For example, we see Grant break away from the idealism and conventional nature of explores and scientists. Each new threat or revealed secret peels back another layer of Grant’s ego until only his raw and primal nature remains. Perhaps he sums it up best when he says,

“Ideology is masturbation. A jerk-off afforded to those few privileged with time on their hands and no wolves at the door. Put that shit to the test in the field. This is what you get. A savage monkey willing to die so long as he destroys his enemy”.

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Also, Remender isn’t afraid to sacrifice lives in order to remain true to the tale. By issue six, the readers have already seen some prominent characters die. With a steady death count, most writers fail to keep the readers from becoming detached. However, each life which is lost, no matter how small their role, is always a gut punch to the readers. Because we care about these people, it adds just that much more tension and feeling of risk. Once again, this shows how much talent is embedded in the writing.

Meanwhile, Matteo Scalera does an excellent job of balancing the familiar with the exotic. Each creature, plant, civilization looks somewhat familiar while simultaneously new and exotic. The eyes never feel like they are staring at another world or planet; rather, they are looking at this world from a flipped and reinvented perspective. Furthermore, praise also goes to Scalera and his team’s endurance for being able to completely rebuild our world from issue to issue. Each new dimension has its own unique and defining characteristics, and it’s always a dark and beautiful treat for the eyes.

At the end of the first arc, we’re left with a nail biting conclusion that Remender has only just begun this ride. He’s kicked off a dynamic and beautiful tale which is willing to challenge conventional story telling and examine how human nature and destiny fit into scientific and technological progress.

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