After interviewing writer Sean Lewis and artist Hayden Sherman about a month ago I couldn’t have been more excited for this new original series. It’s finally here in all its post-apocalyptic future glory, but is it good?
The Few #1 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
Critically lauded writer and playwright SEAN LEWIS follows up the cult favorite SAINTS with his newest book THE FEW. Teaming with red-hot artist HAYDEN SHERMAN for a LIMITED MAXI-SERIES, THE FEW combines Mad Max action with a Station Eleven sensibility in this sci-fi series for mature readers. In a dystopian future, two survivalist brothers stumble across an unlikely sight: a woman asleep in the woods holding nothing but a gun and a baby wearing a gas mask. As these boys begin to embark on helping this woman, betrayals, secrets, and revolutions abound in the fi ght for what’s left of America.
Why does this book matter?
It’s safe to say this is an edgy science fiction thriller due to the premise and the art. Given the current state of comic books I think it’s the only opportunity to get such a book. Add in Hayden Sherman’s unique art and I’m sold on at least giving this one a try.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with an important quote about how revolutions exist at all and it seems incredibly well timed given the current political climate. It then cuts to a girl running for her life, bloody and carrying a baby. Lewis is clearly a master of misdirection, as he not only shifts in time and plays with our expectations, but the very quote to open the book seems to be a play on what we think is going on vs. what is really going on. When I finished reading this book I was left wondering if I had all the details right, flipped through it again, then realized what he had done. Lewis keeps you on your toes, defies what you think you know, and allows that to direct the energy of the book. Some might be confused by the time shifting, but it ultimately adds to the quality of the story.
The book I might add, is rife with energy, due to the very unique art by Sherman. The style makes the trees look almost like spikes, which further makes the situation our female protagonist Edan Hale in more dangerous. There’s a gritty texture to characters from their hair to their clothes which helps add realism too.
The use of color, or lack thereof, helps bring attention to the violence and make it feel more profound. Just because there’s a little blood on someone’s face doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of violence either, as there’s some rather graphic violence that takes place in this issue. Heads smashed in, throats slashed…the future is not a safe place. And yet, the barren double page spreads that showcase how empty the wilderness is conveys the lonesome nature of the future as well. There’s also a rather cool reveal of a city of sorts–at first blocks in the distance, but as motorcyclists approach we clearly get a sense of what this city is, and then further we see the state of the city itself. It’s a visual way to convey where society is at and it looks good doing it.
Even though the issue is 48 or so pages it feels economical in how much story it tells. From the characters and their relationship who save Edan Hale to the leader of the city, to just how bad it has become in America, there’s a lot to chew on while we wait for issue #2. That said, Edan Hale could possibly use some fleshing out but…we’ll get to that.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The minimalist style of writing might thwart some and it did end up making me scratch my head by the end. Given the page count, one might have wished for more insight into the bigger picture, but again, as storytelling goes the journey is quite well rendered here. I did wish I knew more about our Edan Hale, but given the cliffhanger that’s surely going to come.
Quiet those crunches!
Is It Good?
This is the sci-fi thriller that pushes the boundaries of storytelling in comics. It’s a reminder this medium has its advantages and The Few capitalizes on them to make any fan of storytelling prick up their ears.