IDW Publishing 2019
Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Ryan Lee
Coloured by Doug Garbark
Lettered by Shawn Lee
Abraham Stubbs and his father Noah roam America in a nomadic existence. Convinced they are being pursued by sinister government forces, Noah has them living off the grid, burgling houses to survive. Elsewhere, on Mount Rector, the lone survivor of a climbing expedition staggers homeward, covered in blood. Both are on an inevitable collision course with the picturesque Canadian resort town of Braeriach.
Oh yes indeed alright folks so this is a strong start to a new series from Mr. Lees. The opening here is fantastic in how it attracts the readers' attention and makes you want to know what the heck is going on here. I do like how we learn the meaning behind the issues title and how that plays into what we see going on it is a very well done addition and it also makes this weird kind of sense when it all boils down to it. Huge kudos, shoutout, to Ryan and Doug “Lee” for the visuals that accompany the narration here. One doesn't work nearly as well without the other and the symbiotic nature of how we see all of them working together, including Shawn, is our first look at what we should expect throughout the series entire run.
Meanwhile as they say we get to meet Abraham and his father Noah. There are a number of emotional things run through the readers' mind and heart here. Now I don't know how old Abraham is supposed to be but he looks like he's around 10 years old. I said early how integral it is for this writing and interiors being so integral to one another and that is so true when it comes to seeing what Abraham does and how we see him in this moment. There is some mighty fine characterisation happening here in the visuals that would never be able to come across in the writing.
The story & plot development alongside the character development here is phenomenally well done. The way we see the two come together, separate and dance around each other like some ceremonial dance around a fireplace keeps the reader glued to the story. The pacing that moves this all forward is consistent and has this way of making you feel like this is a much longer story than it really is and that's a great feeling and something that John is able to do for us. To make a standard issue count seem like an extra set of pages are here shows how talent he is when it comes to writing and crafting a story.
At first glance I was questioning some of the choices in the human form but then the further we got into the story I forgot to keep looking for them. I am the guy who champions the utilisation of backgrounds in books but I don't have to do that here all I have to do is sit back and ogle the work he's doing here. This is how you do if folks this is how you use the attention to detail, the varying weights of the linework to create such amazing detail work in every aspect from the main character to the backgrounds. The composition in the panels and perspectives we see as the utilisation of the page layouts all show the stellar eye for storytelling. The creativity and imagination is stupendous and then the colour work that we see is extremely well utilised. Daytime, night time it doesn't matter we see some lovely colours and the variation of the tones and hues is so nice to see. P.S. That old man in the chair yeah that's spectacular!
I think that the emotional turmoil that we see within the pages of this book is far and away some of the best reading you are going to do. I mean seeing what Abraham is going through, what he has to look forward to and how John takes the reader off script engaging the readers' mind with what about, when did, how does, and many more questions. John makes you think and that's a freaking amazing thing as the layers we are introduced to compound with what we see. There is a mystery from the opening that we see in the ending and as Abraham's life takes a new turn in ways he has no control over we're seeing what could be the Fall's must have book. And John's announcement that he's here and he's here to stay, with talent such as this all I gotta say is pull up a chair.