Pisces #1 visits three distinct periods in Dillon’s life with one voice calling to him through similar themes and traumas.
STELLAR FIRST ISSUE
Kurtis J. Wiebe writes a lot of book I like and in spite of the fact that Pisces #1 is a part of the astro influx from Image Comics the emotional throughline and time travel narrative device layered on top make for a very compelling first issue. Pisces #1 hit readers right in the gut with the introduction of Dillon, the protagonist, who undergoes physical injury and the revelation of an underlying emotional injury in the opening pages of the issue.
Dillon might not be a good guy, but Wiebe already has his audience interested in the leading man less than five pages into Pisces #1. As previously mentioned, the issue deals with time travel and it is never entirely clear which of the three places we visit is the present. The shift between the first timeline, Dillon’s experiences as a pilot during the Vietnam War and the storyline that takes place in outer space are all born on the back of both physical and mental duress. Wiebe forces Dillon into moments of great stakes – often to the brink of life and death – before the character emerges in a different time and place.
By the end of Pisces #1 it is unclear if Dillon himself is traveling through the fabric of reality or if this is simply a device Wiebe is employing to get the most information across possible, though it is definitely possible that the first option was his intention. Story beats and themes carry over between the three storylines and are indicative of the overall tone of the series.
Pisces #1 deals with bereavement, a loss of identity and fear of abandonment. Dillon represents the empty, creeping qualities in all readers in three distinct situation that heighten these fearful qualities. It’s a genius move. At its core this is a science fiction story set in the vast expanse of outer space that focuses on a protagonist who is a loner set against a stark background.
In spite of the fact that Pisces #1 celebrates the bleak elements of storytelling, they’re woven together quite skilfully. Wiebe has produced clever threads that carry from storyline to storyline – often backed up with a visual representation – while leaving readers buried in enough mystery and magic to read on. Never once does it feel overly sad or self-indulgent and that’s really quite nice.
Yes, there are a lot of space odyssey comic books coming out right now. Yes, there are a lot of space odyssey comic books coming out from Image Comics right now … but, Pisces #1 is a really good one and it is so very different from the other series that Wiebe is writing right now – Rat Queens, Peter Panzerfaust. A great writer has range and Pisces #1 is a compelling read that shows range.
Johnnie Christmas is on the art duties of Pisces #1 and he slips effortlessly between the storylines that Wiebe has placed before him. The reckless storyline that opens the issue takes a lot of visual cues from American noir comics. Christmas executes this with great aplomb, most noticeably, the entire cast of Pisces #1 look hard and dangerous in their initial appearances.
Pisces #1 cues readers to the reality shifts with spreads and splash pages wherein Christmas challenges typical framing and sequential art storytelling. They are beautiful and worth stopping for when readers come across them.
The Vietnam War storyline focuses on Dillon and his co-pilot as if Christmas were drawing superhero comics. The style shift is not huge, but the colours and character designs clue us in to the focus of the new narrative. By the time Pisces #1 gets to outer space the image Christmas leaves us with is reminiscent of the isolation implicit in being confined to a womb for 40 weeks of gestation. This isolation even shapes the way Dillon looks and promises to be an important factor in Christmas’ design work moving forward.
Pisces #1 looks really, really great and matches the changes that are going on in the plot without seeming to throw readers into a completely new issue every few pages.
BOTTOM LINE: PRE-ORDER NOW
Pisces #1 is everything a first issue should be. It has a strong story, an interesting twist and the art enhances the story being put on the page. Put this on your radar for when it hits the shelves.