Image Comics/Shadowline Productions 2015
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Illustrated by Johnnie Christmas
Coloured by Tamra Bonvillain
I have absolutely no idea what the hell I just read. I do know it’s gorgeously rendered, seriously as an art snob this is right up my alley, and I know that thanks to whatever Kurtis just did I need to come back and figure it all out. Past, present, future who knows really which one is which or if it’s all some dream like experience Dillon is having showcasing some of his most ife altering experiences. Regardless as the issue goes on as a reader I was sucked in trying to figure it all out. Kurtis does a remarkable job here with this first issue grabbing your attention and keeping it.
The hospital scene that opens the book is incredibly intense. When we see Dillon get to the hospital we learn his wife gave birth to a baby boy that he wasn’t present for the delivery of. His “friend” Samuel is there to hand him his ass on a platter saying that his wife doesn’t ever wanna see him again. Oh yeah and he’s cut up and bloody and quite possibly a bad drunk well from the visual clues we get anyway.
When he’s knocked out we get a two page spread with air bubbles in strategic places but we see outer space and hand reaching out to him. It’s then that you see him pulled out of the water dressed in a military uniform coming having escaped what could be a helicopter or plane crash. We do get this odd flashback here that’s as much to do with what happened with Dillon behind enemy lines as does represent something else entirely like complete blackness and waking up look out into space.
When the dream memory returns his co-pilot gets attacked by the Vietnamese. We see him take action after that and kind of going all Rambo on the natives. These memories lead him to the waters edge as if he’s trying to escape them and this leads you to see where Dillon more than likely is. But how did he get there? Did everything we’ve seen leading up to this point actually happen are they memories of a life that was led up until now? It’s that certain uncertainty that is most appealing to me as a reader.
We see these two very different versions of Dillon here one when he was soldier having experienced something horrific that could have resulted in PTSD which would explain the drinking and reckless behavior we encountered first which would also explain why his wife would want him out of her life. Still we’ve only clues that this could have happened considering where he ends up and what he’s going through between segments. So while you think you have this solid idea of who Dillon is it’s all actually questionable.
Johnnie and Tamra do some very detailed and fine work on the interiors. A few things I would nitpick like the blood on Dillon’s face in the beginning being too solid in colour and not looking like it’s dripping but that’s nitpicking. The linework and the page layouts are wonderfully done and the facial expressions are superbly expressive. The interior artwork displays the subtlety of the story wonderfully while interpreting the story.
I’m still not sure what this is going to be all about but i’m in and now I need to know. A very different kind of first issue that surely delivers.