Titan Comics 2015
Created & Written by Mark Landry
Illustrated by Ashley Witter
I will wholeheartedly admit this wasn’t what I was expecting with the title of this book. Mind you that’s not usually a bad thing and in this case it certainly isn’t. The story’s prologue takes us to Katrina in New Orleans where we meet Virgil who works for the Coast Guard and is a resident of the city devastated by the hurricane. This prologue is going to shape the man he becomes after the experience so you can understand who he is today. Great powerful characterization here by Mark. It’s hard hitting, gripping and more than a little disturbing.
The interiors are done by the very Ashley, whose work on Squarriors made me an instant fan and seeing this here continues to impress me with her wide array of illustration skills. From the mundane to the weird and horrific she’s got one of those eyes that doesn’t miss a thing and that she brings her imagination to life her so wonderfully adds to the reading experience. Seriously from the leaves in the trees to the fabric of clothing to facial expressions and more than a little darkness the range we see here from her is truly amazing.
Ten years after the storm and we see Virgil worrying about the next big one to hit. He’s going to leave town this time for good. He just can’t emotionally handle going through that again and he’s no longer with the Coast Guard. Haunted by visions of his own failures he’s bailing out and ready to leave the city he once loved that has turned into a place unrecognizable to him now. I’m telling you Mark’s storytelling abilities are amazing on point, he’s got so much emotion, depth and feeling coming from the story that you completely understand where Virgil is coming from through the narration.
Virgil’s baby brother Trey, Dr. Lafleur, works for the biggest name in the city in a lab. Groundbreaking research too if we’re to believe the hype. Also he’s schtooping his assistant in the lab as well, never a good idea to shit where ya eat if you know what I mean. The brothers have a very different outlook on life and living in this city and Trey isn’t ready to leave his position or the prestige he thinks he’s going to get to with his brother. Then again he didn’t witness what Virgil did and he was just a kid then. Amazing that only ten years later and people can go back to it’ll never happen here again mentality.
Just so you understand something else there is a darker underbelly in New Orleans and we’re going to be introduced to it here. Virgil unwittingly has been caught up in it and while he has no idea that fate seems to have other plans for him than his own we see something happening that will once again redefine the man. I love what transpires through the last fifteen pages or so. It’s weird, dark, scary, creepy and bordering on the supernatural but how does it all tie into Virgil?
The answers are kind of simple though you’ll have to read the story to learn why I say that. This is not what you’ll expect it to be and thankful for that and super excited for what’s to come. We also meet a couple cops one of whom well I don’t care for the other well the jury’s out on him and i’ve got a feeling i’m going to like him. Based on what we see transpire here that is.
Impressive first issue really. Fantastic introduction to the cast of characters and the story firmly sets up what to expect, which is something to see too. The characterization is so strong you get immediate likes and dislikes among the cast and Ashley’s interiors will impress even the harshest critic.
This is a 5 star premiere and has me excited to see what’s to come!