A Trip to the Beach: Jason’s Comic Reviews
Welcome back to my ever-evolving comic reviews. Each week I will review a few new releases you may have missed on new comic Wednesday. As things change, mostly my mood, so will this column. Some weeks may be several new comics from various publishers or sometimes just one. There might be a time when it’s a longer review for a book I’m really excited about, and every now and then I may throw in a review of a retro book from years past. You never know!
This week we take a long trip to the beach. Unfortunately, this beach isn’t South Beach.
- Written by Warren Ellis
- Art by Jason Howard
In the 1920s a group of scientists launched some earthlings into space. the purpose was to find their own world. Turns out, the rest of the earth didn’t know about this little venture, until recently. Reconnaissance officer, Mike Blackburn, is sent to check out this new world. He is captured and once his captives figure out where he’s from, it doesn’t look good for Mike. A prisoner break ensues. Mike takes an ally on his journey, a young rebel named Grace.
Mike and Grace make a dangerous trek through the planet to Mike’s ship. The planet is a ring of walled cities, each with their own dangers. With the government hot on their trail, the two make their way through peril after peril. Sometimes this includes warships, dogs with gas masks and mutant freaks. Mike’s escape vessel is located at the outer most territory of the planet, Cemetery Beach. Meanwhile, the planet’s ruler, President Barrow leads the charge to bring Mike back in. He’s afraid what earth (also known as Old Home) will do once they learn of what he’s done on this new colony since the ’20s.
This is a fun story, which is essentially a high concept, sci-fi, action, chase, thriller. That’s right, this is one big chase scene, but it’s a fun one. Warren Ellis has really developed a brand new world, using some alternate history. The idea of a colony in space founded in the 1920s is pretty intriguing. The action, mixed with some dialogue is well paced. We don’t get a whole lot of info about the trip to the planet or even get to know the characters that well. Though, this totalitarian planet of walls and all kinds of horrors lends itself to some more stories. Ellis has some good work under his belt, this book is no exception, however not his deepest work.
The art by Jason Howard is quite fun. The character designs are pretty unique, especially Grace. She’s a human, I supposed but has a strange purple tint and hairdo. She kinda looks like a purple, female version of Savage Dragon, as least to me. President Barrow is another interesting one with his overly obese figure and fancy suits. The city designs work well to give you that blend of a post-WW2 eastern block meets sci-fi. The action takes center stage though. Ellis takes a break from dialogue from time to time, for Howard to do his things with the action. There’s one particular neat page depicting Mike and Grace’s escape into the sewers. The art style may be scratchy at times for some fans but I dug it.
Overall, this is a fun read. The lead-in chapter is really good and sets the mood well. However, the next installments drag out the chase. We don’t get a whole lot of back story on characters or the overall planet. Just little tidbits here and there. This has the feel of a fun action film with serviceable characters. This is recommended if you are a fan of action movies but fans wanting a deep dive into alternate histories may be disappointed. Fortunately, there’s enough here that there could easily be another adventure soon.
I’ll be back with a new crop of reviews. For more comic reviews, insight, and commentary on comics old and new check out the Drawn & Paneled podcast wherever you get podcasts!