Cemetery Beach #1
Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howard
A Review by Robert Coffil
Warren Ellis has been talking about Cemetery Beach in his newsletters for what feels like years and it is finally here. The creative team of Trees (which if you haven’t read, I can’t recommend highly enough) returns from hiatus to bring a zany sci-fi story that grabs you by the neck and doesn’t let you go from beginning to end.
Warren Ellis is a creator who has worked for almost every publisher under the sun and has had limited series on every character that piques his oh so English taste. As such, there is everything from an X-Men story to a much storied Moon Knight run. For me, there is almost no way to describe his writing other than “interesting”. In every Ellis book, there are high concepts grounded by characters who make you want to know more. This is what brings me to his books time and time again. It is what brought me to Cemetry Beach and it is what will bring me back for the next issue.
Jason Howard’s fantastic art is something to behold in this issue. Howard has done work with Robert Kirkman on The Astounding Wolf-Man and he has worked with Ellis before on Trees. Cemetery Beach is some of his best work. What I like about his cartooning is that he is able to denote surprise and wonder in people’s faces while also being able to illustrate double page action spreads. He does both equally well. It is that range in illustrative power that makes this issue top notch.
Cemetery Beach #1 is the tale of Micheal Blackburn doing professional pathfinding on a world full of criminals. This is a plot only someone like Warren Ellis could come up with. In the 1920s Scientist and Industrialist were able to discover a method of off-world travel. From there they were able to establish a colony 10 years later. The colony has been receiving intermittent supplies ever since. This issue is the story of Blackburn’s capture and escape with a Native guide.
The first half of Cemetry Beachis dialogue heavy and establishes everything the reader needs to know about the world and the second half of the book is a romp of an adventure. With the first half of the issue being word balloon heavy one would think it would be a slog to get through, wrong! That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is excellent Ellis pithy dialogue. You’re giving exchanges like, ” You know, we’re going to have to kill you, right?” “Yeah, I kind of worked that out. Thanks for being honest with me.” Also during the first half of the issue, there are the wonderful emotive faces of Jason Howard. There is everything from complete surprise to sullen acceptance.
The second half of the issue is a frantic action scene that Howard does an excellent job of laying out and blowing the reader away with. Explosions, people with surprised looks on their faces, fear. Really adrenaline pumping pages that end with a cliffhanger I wasn’t expecting.
Verdict: Must Buy!!!!
I know a seven-issue limited series is easy to wait for the trade. However, I urge everyone to go out an buy the issue. From the far out sci-fi concept to the excellent art, this is story all should read.