This Island, after opening on José Domingo’s quirky, fantastical, intricate look at an island, ends with the most depressing thing possible. After almost eighty pages of fantasy, Kate Craig’s story of a stranded hikers brings the comic–and the reader–back to reality. A depressing reality.
Overall, most of the stories this issue are undercooked. Malachi Ward and Matt Sheean have slightly future story where everyone’s linked into “the Service;” it’s too bad they didn’t just brand it as a certain fruit-named company. (Or do whatever Bill Amend did in “Fox Trot”). They spend too much time on exposition for what’s actually a simple concept. The narrative meanders–the protagonist, cut off from the instant, useless knowledge of the Internet, finds himself in an ominous situation. It’s all right, but clearly in need of an editor.
Dilraj Mann does this punk thing, one character leading to another character, leading to another character. Looping around. It makes you want to either read Love and Rockets or just look at Love and Rockets covers, because Mann’s art isn’t there and his storytelling isn’t either.
Amy Clare’s art is problematic for a comic–there’s a certain flatness to it and she doesn’t scale it well–but it’s good. Her writing is intentionally obtuse; she wants to make the reader work at getting into her story about a female enforcer in a vague dystopian future, only she takes really obvious shortcuts to exposition. The protagonist, after a year of slipping under the customs radar, gets busted for the story. I think. Like I said, Clare makes the reader work at it.
Tessa Black does an H.R. Giger thing. It may read entirely different to others, but if you’ve seen Species, it’s an H.R. Giger thing.
So it’s definitely a mixed bag this issue of Island but what’s impressive is how worthwhile, even with the unevenness, the comic remains.
Contributors, José Domingo, Malachi Ward, Matt Sheean, Dilraj Mann, Amy Clare, Tessa Black and Kate Craig; publisher, Image Comics.