Written by: Brandon Thomas
Art by: Juan Gedeon
Colors: Frank Martin
Letterer: Russ Wooten
Editor: Sean Mackiwicz
Publisher: Skybound Imprint of Image
I once read that, “Survival is the strongest instinct known to man”. What if that instinct isn’t limited to humans? The comic book Horizon ponders this question. This isn’t a book about humans trying to survive. It’s about aliens trying to survive. Aliens are beginning an insurgency on Earth to prevent an invasion of their home planet, Valius.
Horizon doesn’t feel like any other comic book on the shelf. For starters, the main protagonists aren’t human. This simple switch makes the reader cross identify. Identifying with characters who they have no relation to in any way, shape or form. Another aspect of the book that is unlike any other, the humans are the villains. While all humans in the story may not be “evil”, they do represent a threat to our cadre of protagonists. We are introduced to the character who would seem to be the primary antagonist going forward in issue three. The reader isn’t given his name, but we do get to see some fancy fight moves.
The first two issues of Horizon introduce us to the world we are going to be reading about and gathering the team together. Issue three is a jailbreak. It almost feels like a heist film, but it doesn’t have the humor of something like an “Ant-man” or “Oceans 11”.
Horizon three, even with 22 pages of content, is dense with story. Zhia, Sherrie and Marisol are hunting for agent Fin, who has been captured by a secret government agency, Kepler, we saw in issue two. Interspersed between the jail break story we are given a glimpse back at the Planet Valius and the relationship between Finn and Zhia. The dialogue between the two reveals the possibility of other cells on the planet.
That’s one feature of the book I do want to point out, each issue drops the reader into the story “in media-res”. The reader doesn’t get an explanation of how things work in this future, what everything does, but we are given some of the why events are set in motion. In the hands of lesser creators, this would hurt to the story. In Horizon it works.
Juan Gedeon does a great job with the storytelling in this issue. He does a great job of conveying motion in comics. There’s a wonderful two page spread of Finn’s attempted jail break that bristles with energy and verve. The panels that are of the past are shaped differently and a different color so the reader sees the clear break between the time periods. Martin colors it in such a way, that you feel the different atmosphere in those flashback sequences.
One criticism I do have is that there are no framing shots. In the action sequences, both Finn’s escape attempt and the eventual jailbreak, lack an image to setup the reader to the environment of what is going on. This makes it hard to track what is happening where.
The lettering of a comic isn’t something I usually notice, but the sound effects in this issue really stood out to me. Whether, it was the gunshots during a scene, explosions or bones crunching, the effects really burst off the page and make you feel them. Also, the word balloons are shaped based off the language of the speaker. English has round word balloons and the alien language is rectangular. This creates an interesting device to play with. Finn screams in anguish in his alien tongue. Think of how foreign that must sound, but then again, a scream is a scream.
BUY! Image is replete with science fiction stories. Horizon stands out above the rest because of its unique narrative choices and the way it uses typical comic book devices and retools them.