From Top Cow Productions (aka Image Comics) comes Wildfire, my most anticipated new indie book of the month. Yes, even more so than books like The Wicked + Divine. I couldn’t tell you why though, just that premise sounded sort of interesting to me, more so than any other new book. Is it good?
Wildfire #1 (Top Cow Productions)
During TV debate with anti-GMO (genetically modified food) activist, Dr. Beth Silva accidently lets slip a project she and her team has been working on. It’s a plan that would accelerate plant growth and with only 5% the water and nutrients needed to traditionally grow plants, helping eliminate world hunger and food shortages. The problem is that she lets this information slip while they are still in the testing phase and now everyone wants to see their plants in action to see if it is true or not.
Civil? Bah! Come on, let’s see them duke this out!
For a first issue, this isn’t too bad of a start. It feels like the opening to one of those B sci-fi/horror movies, where we have scientists playing in God’s domain and everything goes to crap from there due to a screwup of some kind. It’s also rather uneventful for the most part, just a lot of characters talking to each other. That’s perfectly fine, since it helps introduce the characters and some motivations, but again, the issue starts off kind of slow here. Don’t expect the comic to immediately hook you in.
With all of that said, I found the comic very intriguing. It’s a decent setup with rather understandable motivations and characterization. They feel enough like real people, despite some awkward dialogue and exposition in places, that you can sort of like them and sympathize with them. The pacing and structure are good, helping you get pulled into the comic. The opening and ending are probably the most exciting bits, offering us glimpses of the horror that is to come and give some incentive to stick around for a bit.
Aww, you are so amusing when you fail at science.
One of the biggest parts of the book is the debate regarding GMOs. It’s a pretty spirited debate and heavily-discussed topic from what I have heard and seen, and the book does reasonably well in handling it. Both sides make decent cases on why they are “right” and you can see their points. However, the more anti-GMO side seems to be much more upfront and in your face about it, coming across as jerks as points. Hell, they are sort of the reason why the mess at the beginning and end happened in the first place. The book does try to make the scientist side have its own problems and faults as well, but it may not be enough. They better balance this if the book continues with the debate; it should have some reasonable and likeable activists as well.
Then there is the artwork and it’s fine. It gets the job done with well drawn characters (though some similar faces and one person doesn’t look like she is 15), easy to follow but slightly simplistic layouts, the coloring has a nice painted look to it, and there’s nothing that bad or off about it. However, it doesn’t really have much to draw at this point, with nothing very exciting happening. Hopefully that changes in the coming issues.
Oh yeah, being an asshole will totally make me want be on your side, sir.
Is It Good?
Wildfire #1 is a decent, if slow start to the comic. It has a pretty solid setup, some decently characterized characters, alright artwork, and a very nice and interesting debate on GMOs. Wildfire is for those of us seeking more intelligence and intriguing real-world issues in our comics with a dash of fun science fiction to boot. If that sounds good to you, then give this comic a shot.