In an underwater world the Caine family are a legacy of hunters. Their youngest daughters – Tajo and Della – are of age to begin their training when everything goes pear-shaped.
Someday the sun is going to explode – that is the catalyst for everything that comes to pass in the pages of Low #1. Not necessarily on Earth, but in the future world of a similar place society has gone on to make its home in aquatic landscapes.
Johl and Stel are married parents in Low #1 with opposing views of their current situation. Johl is a hunter and of the opinion that so much of their struggling – in past and to date – has been in vain, for lack of anything better to do. Stel, the matriarch, is the bright optimism and the intellectual. The remainder of the focal family in Low #1 is filled out by their son Marik – another intellectual type inclined toward mechanical aptitude. Younger twin daughters Tajo and Della have just come of age to begin training to operate the Helm.
The Helm is vastly important to the plot of Low #1. It is a giant (presumably aquatic), mech suit only members of the Caine family can genetically bond with and pilot. While Stel and her intellectual breed are focused on locating a new world for their people to inhabit the Helm is piloted by Hunters – legendarily female – and set on protecting the world they have from any and all dangers. While Stel is apprehensive about her daughters beginning their training she allows it; white-haired Della is gung ho and ready to be brave, whilst dark-haired sister Tajo is less certain.
The self-doubt she voices throughout Low #1 offer her father Johl several opportunities to impart fatherly wisdom on the nature of bravery and duty. Rick Remender handles these moments with surprise depth and understanding and they serve not only to give Johl the opportunity to come across as something other than a jerky-jerk – as I would argue he does in the opening pages – and to simultaneously allow readers moments to develop empathy for the familial unity we are presented with.
Some of the subtleties of the world of Low #1 are lost upon first reading because Remender has characters rapid-fire them off with the assumption that readers will catch up, but the relationships built throughout the issue completely justify the dangerous left turn that begins about 17 pages in. I won’t spoil it, but it is violent and leaves Low #1 with a heck of a place to move forward from.
Rememder’s story in the pages of Low #1 is masterfully handled. It is both kinetic and incredibly intellectual and presents readers with a unique science fiction tale (interstellar and underwater), and a soberly what-if examination of a situation our own species could be faced with in the coming eons. Low #1 represents the type of story comic books were made for and deserves to be picked up and read by readers everywhere.
Greg Tocchini’s work throughout Low #1 is just what the subtitle says. It is ethereal and off-putting to the point of making readers uncomfortable. Had this issue been set in space it would somehow be less startling. Tocchini’s cover bears obvious resemblances to poster designs from the Bioshock game series, but the more we see of Tajo and Della, their mother Stel, to more sheer strength readers can see in them. His women manage to be elf-like in their frame, but grounded to the point of absolute deliberation in their movements. Tocchini’s women are the stars of Low #1 even if men feature heavily in the events of the final pages.
The overall aesthetic of Low #1 is very indie comic and it serves the type of story being told. There are certain to be moments to shine in the coming series where Tocchini will be able to flush out more of this volatile underwater world its residents are vehemently trying to escape.
WHAT A GREAT READ
Low #1 is an awesome issue. It’s beautiful and stands out as one of the best independent comic series to have launched in recent days. It would behoove you to read it, especially if dystopian science fiction is your bag.