BOOM! Studios kicks off another new series, and one of the great things about a first issue is we don’t know anything about the series, ‘cept what we’ve been told on sites like Major Spoilers… and those others, whose names I forget at this time…
It’s a whole new world to explore!
HIGHER EARTH #1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Francesco Biagini
Colorist: Andrew Crossley
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Dafna Pleban
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $1.00
Previously in Higher Earth: Major Spoilers ran a number of cover images, and sneak peeks leading up to the release of this first issue.
COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE
The ability to punch through the universe to the one next door has been an idea that many suspected could be done. In the comic books it has been done, and done, and done, and now Sam Humphries joins the club by using this as the base for Higher Earth. What is a bit different, and is a nice twist, is that there are Higher Earths, which I presume are Earths that are better off than some, and do what they want with their lesser duplicates. As this story opens readers are introduced to The Girl, who lives on an Earth filled with trash. Readers quickly learn that other Earths are simply using this universe as a garbage bin. The inhabitants live out a weird Mad Max scenario where they fight over the treasures thrown out by others.
That’s when The Man shows up. We don’t know what his agenda is, but he is interested in The Girl, and he is running from The Enemy, who has tracked The Man across hundreds of Earths. The Man does know how to jump from one universe to the next, and when one arrives on a higher Earth, without authorization, You Are Illegal On This Earth.
I don’t mind being dropped into the action from the start and not knowing what is going on. It keeps things edgy and interesting. The problem arrises when this device is used for more than issue, thus confusing the reader and causing them to lose interest more quickly than they should. This issue serves only one purpose at this point; universe building – to introduce the concept of the multiverse, how one jumps, and more importantly, the sanctions against those who cross illegally. That is also a big drawback for the issue, as those who have been reading comics for years are already familiar with the multiverse. Not knowing what the mission is, or why The Man is jumping from world to world, only increases the chance that many readers might be turned off after reading this first chapter.
I don’t have a lot to say on the art. Character models are solid, proportions and detail remain consistent from panel to panel, and action sequences work from a cinematic perspective. If there is one thing that stands out in this issue it is the way Biagini doesn’t stick to the square panel format. Here we have panels that are round, radial frames, and those that are skewed to give the feeling of movement or forcing the reader to focus on the action in a different way. I like it a lot, and I’m sure there is a method to the reasoning for changing the panel shape and layout on each page.
BOTTOM LINE: I’D BUY THAT FOR A DOLLAR
I love it when companies decide that the best way to lure in new readers is to reduce the cover price to the point where it is foolish not to pick up a copy. For the smaller publisher this is very important, and for BOOM! Studios it appears to have paid off, as my local comic guy told me he got shorted this week because the book was in such high demand. Is it worth it? Sure it is, two characters on the run, tripping through the multiverse, with some unknown goal at the end of the tunnel, makes for an interesting first issue. Though tropes are scattered throughout the issue, it’s still worth picking up for a buck and earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars. This is just the start, and I expect this is going to get a whole lot more interesting as the series goes on.