Written by Grant Morrison and Drawn by Chris Burnham
Written and Drawn by Jimmie Robinson
Written by Matt Hawkins & Bryan Hill and Drawn by Isaac Goodhart
Published by Image Comics
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Three new efforts from Image…
Because of its creative team, there is a lot of hype surrounding NAMELESS #1, the latest creator-owned effort from Grant Morrison. Reunited with artist Chris Burnham, we are meant to expect great things as they dive into this sci-fi horror story that focuses on a man actually known as Nameless. In the beginning, he is hired to steal a key out of someone else’s dreams, which leads to some fascinating imagery. But it is after that where the story picks up speed, as he is hired to engage in a far more scientifically-based mission to save the world. And that’s about the bare minimum I can tell you with any certainty about the book.
That’s because so much of what happens here is just odd for what feels like odd’s sake. Any number of questions arise, starting with why the book begins as an occult-based version of INCEPTION and veers into territory more associated with bad Bruce Willis movies. I could go on, but you get the idea. Look, I’m okay with a bit of nonsensical in my comics; CASANOVA is brilliant in its lack of comprehensible plotting. But it always gives you enough to hold onto in the way of linear movement to keep you grounded. This one comes up a bit short.
Now, mind you, this is the work of some of comics’ finest. The art alone is worth the cover price. Do I expect this to pick up in a meaningful way as it goes forward? Absolutely. But this first issue is gonna leave you feeling a little lost. Seems only fair to let you know.
The criminally underrated Jimmie Robinson returns with THE EMPTY #1, a sci-fi saga loaded with imagination and straight-forward storytelling that draws you in immediately. A young woman named Tanoor lives in an arid, empty world that is full of poison and very little in the way of potable water and edible food. Yet her job is to patrol the far boundaries and find those things and bring them back to her people. One day, a stranger washes ashore, a stranger with the ability to alter the poison land into one that bears life again.
This does not go over well with the more superstitious part of the populace. Now Tanoor must save the stranger, herself, and find a way to circumvent the tribal elders in order to save all of her people.
Simple, elegant setup. Gorgeous art. Solid dialogue. Interesting characters. Understandable conflicts that make sense between the characters. A few background mysteries that will be fun to watch be resolved, but which don’t take away from the rollicking tale being told in the forefront of the story. Robinson handles this stuff brilliantly. This is a textbook way of putting together the first issue of a real epic. I can’t wait to see where he goes with it.
One of the great things about comics is that there is room on the shelves for stories and genres that don’t involve people in capes. I love that there is a place for a book like POSTAL #1, which falls into the crime genre, but definitely has an unusual twist at its core. Mark is the postmaster for Eden, Wyoming, a small town of around 2000 people. He’s good at this job because of the fastidiousness that comes with his diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. He has the job because his mother is the mayor of the town… a town with an amazing secret: it is populated solely by criminals.
Criminals who all follow one code: there is to be no crime in Eden. Ever.
You can guess how that goes, and Mark finds himself at the center of two mysteries, not just one. It’s a fantastic setup with some really interesting execution that grabs the reader and really holds their interest. From the prickly lead character to the seemingly sympathetic waitress to the take-no-shit mayor, the book is populated with intriguing people. Great dialogue, solid art… like I said, I love that there is a place for this book on comics shelves. Recommended.