By Leroy Douresseaux
April 14, 2010 - 07:47
|The Light #1 cover art
In the new Image Comics series, The Light, from writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Brett Weldele, a virus causes people to burn up like tissue paper caught fire whenever they stare at electrical lights.
The Light #1 (“Outbreak”) introduces Coyle, an abusive alcoholic with a penchant for losing jobs. In fact, as the story begins, we see Coyle being fired from his welding job, and we learn that his wife left him because he beat her, leaving their daughter, Avery, with Coyle. Amidst all this human drama, the rural Oregon town that Coyle calls home catches fire with people going up like roman candles.
Having modern science and technology bring about an apocalyptic scenario is nothing new in science fiction and fantasy. Some recent end-of-world fiction focuses on things we take for granted initiating our downfall, such as mobile phones in Stephen King’s novel Cell and fast food in the film, Zombieland. Edmondson’s choice of electricity as the bug/germ agent of death is smart because of the visual storytelling possibilities that electricity presents. This electric adversary will also allow Edmondson to weave a story that examines the toll technology, in its shifting forms, takes on modern life, both in terms of its intrusiveness and its domination.
Speaking of domination, Brett Weldele is producing work that is making a solid argument that he is the preeminent science fiction comic book artist. There is a ghostly, sparkling quality to Weldele’s work that encapsulates the shifting landscapes and moods of our times. His graphical storytelling grasps of our imagination, and also captures the sense of a future that is apparently arriving too quickly. That makes for engaging storytelling.
Edmondson and Weldele are really good right out the box. The Light #1 is magic, a gripping, chilling tale that is ambitious and promises to be complex. But it is as simply devastating as a scary story can be. I hope #2 can live up to this opening.