Dark Horse Comics 2017
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Andrea Mutti
Coloured by Lauren Affe
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
1798: John Abbott is dispatched to Nassau, where he meets with the victims of the simmering trade war--the Merchant Ship Captains. With a work ethic that borders on obsession, John takes it upon himself to arm their fleets.
Okay so that this series keeps jumping a few years ahead with each issue and ya know what somehow some way Brian manages to make this work beautifully. John Abbott from his introduction has been a most unusual character and that never changes regardless of the year, the ship needing work or where in the world he finds himself. His friendships, love interest and family may make him the man he is regardless.
We’ve known Brian can weave a tale almost like no other but there’s something special about John. He’s a complete enigma in this day and age. Living with and being best friends with a freed black man, whom also works on the ships in the yard and competently so. Their familiarity with each other comes through their actions, speech and dialogue it also almost raises the question of lovers. I don’t believe that for a moment, not that it wouldn’t be interesting, but since he refuses the letters of the woman he loved and the two do have that odd connection and being so close it’s in the universe.
I think his life, where he goes and ultimately what he’s decided to do by the end of the issue make him one of those who could take away the title “most interesting man in the world.” if you’ve never read this I urge and implore you to find it because this is one of those experiences that you never forget. It’s totally awesome to see these figures going about their business while the history of our fledgling nation unravels at the same time, complete with accurate timeline of events. It’s almost as if this is a history book come to life for us only centering on a family told as if it were through diaries of actual events.
If anyone has ever wondered about Andrea’s skill, talent and sheer chutzpah as an artist and illustrator they should see the work here. The attention to detail is astonishing, the realness of the different ships of the era, the clothing the faces and facial expressions that go with the body language all just boggle the imagination. I really feel like we’re having an authentic experience through what we see and i’m thrilled and amazed by it.
The history of our nation as told through these characters, their lives, their work, desires and needs is how school should be taught. Through stellar characterisation that allows us to feel what it would’ve been like to be one either side of the coin, and to find a passion that allows you to see the world. Granted the fourteenth state comes into being in this issue but still the world’s a big place and we are far from being the playground bully we are today, no then we were the new kid on the playground being bullied.
I don’t know what anyone else thinks but for my money this is the contender for limited series of the year.