Writer Rick Remender adds another sci-fi title to his belt with Low #1, the new ongoing series with artist Greg Tocchini about a family of adventurers in an underwater civilization protected from the sun’s radiation. Is it good?
Low #1 (Image Comics)
I had a similar problem with reading Low to the one I had back when I reviewed Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem back in February, as the basic premise of Low seemed to resemble a story idea that I’ve had since I was around ten years old. It’s about a human society that develops underwater after years of pollution renders the Earth’s surface uninhabitable. Regardless, Low deserves to be discussed on its own merits, and not in comparison to an unfinished novel by a prepubescent boy.
So yeah, Low is set in a hopefully-distant future in which humanity has been forced to move into underwater cities (presumably filled with oxygen somehow) to protect themselves against harmful radiation. The focal point of the story is the Caine family, who boast a proud legacy that carries with it what appears to be some kind of ultra-powerful suit that can only be operated by members of the bloodline. Today is an important day, as daughters Tajo and Della are about to embark on their first hunting trip with parents Johl and Stel. Of course, things soon go terribly, terribly wrong, in a genuinely unexpected way.
The story is a bit of a slow burn, but it’s just rewarding enough to get me curious about the next issue. The dialogue also takes some getting used to, because it’s not as naturalistic as we are used to from contemporary comics. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but it does change the rhythm and tone of the reading experience. The characters are moderately charming, but I haven’t quite connected with any of them yet. Maybe in future issues.
A sticking point for many readers will be the art by Greg Tocchini, who also inks and colors the book himself. The visuals stylish and intense, with an impressive sense of scope, but as I’ve stated before, I much prefer a clean line. Tocchini’s line work is often so rough (I hesitate to call it “messy”) that I couldn’t understand what was going on in the page. I understand the appeal of his work, but for me, one of the most basic qualities that I want from a comic book artist is clarity.
Is It Good
Remender’s story has potential, but Tocchini’s art is so hard to follow that it significantly detracts from this comic’s enjoyableness.