Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Jakub Rebelka
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Boom! Studios
A review by Gregory Brothers
Namesake #1, being billed as the only Steve Orlando’s only original story for 2016, is about a firefighter named Jordan Molossus. Readers find out quickly that this will not be some simple slice of life story about a firefighter and his life.
Instead, as the story starts we find out that there is a “Dimensional Alignment” happening that goes on every 7 years. The alignment is with a land called Ektae, which is filled with larger than life citizens whom also have a tendency to use magic and cause destruction. While some people celebrate and enjoy seeing people that they have not seen in the last seven years. Others such as Molossus and his fellow firefighters and police officers dread it as they try to keep the peace and deal with fires and drunken shenanigans.
While Namesake #1 introduces us to Molossus as a firefighter, we find out quickly that while living on Earth, he was actually born on the world of Ektae. This has caused some tension between him and his fellow co-workers, but as we find out, it has also made him a marked man in the world of Ektae. After a long night of putting out magical fires, Molossus returns home to his apartment to find a mysterious package that has been left for him. Within the package are two iron urns that are filled with the remains of his long thought dead father, and a note explaining that Molossus’ life may not be how it seems and he needs to return the urns to the shores of Ektae where his parents met.
Orlando grabs the readers attention by having the action start fast and furious from the first panel, as Rebelka’s art jumps from scene to scene of the firefighters and police trying to do their jobs. While the panels are filled with the scenes of heroics, floating across panels are Ektaes citizens fighting and causing general chaos. Allowing these characters and events to be in the foreground gives the readers the feel that they do not have to follow the same rules that the people of earth do. It’s something subtle, but gives you a feel of the power that these people have.
The art in general is bright, surreal, busy, yet subdued at the same time. While the foreground is filled with these bright fantastic colors, the backgrounds are muted by shades of blues, purples and greens. As weird as this might all sound, it works with the feel of the book. It allows the reader to see the chaos of what an event like a Dimensional Alignment would bring to the world, while being able to focus on the story of Molossus.
Buy it! While at times chaotic, busy, action packed, and overwhelming, at its core, Namesake #1 is a story of self-discovery. Orlando and Rebelka do an excellent job of showing you the craziness and reactions that would be taking place during something like a Dimension Alignment without creating their own chaos that loses the reader. The story of self-discovery shines through as Molossus begins to accept that his world may be shattered by the trip but it is one that he must make. Orlando tells enough of the story to bring me coming back for the next issue, and more than likely, the entire limited series.