A book titled Cemetery Beach gives the impression there’s action afoot, and that there is in this new series from Image Comics. It’s a title written by Warren Ellis, who has proven time and time again he’s a master at character and dialogue. That’s a big reason why the opening scene in this comic put me at ease.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
From the creators of the acclaimed TREES graphic novels, which are currently being adapted for television, comes something completely different. A professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics. WARREN ELLIS & JASON HOWARD ignite a high-speed new action serial.
Why does this matter?
Aside from this being a new original work from Warren Ellis, we also have the excellent Jason Howard drawing and coloring the book, notable for his exceptional sci-fi work on Trees. Together they bring big action and good storytelling chops.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens in an interrogation room. If you read Ellis’ Fell you’ll know his ability to write these kinds of scenes is unparalleled. You’d think the back and forth between perp and authority in a boring room would be impossible to make interesting, but somehow Ellis is capable of it. He puts a spin on it immediately in this issue, characterizing the main character in a fun and unexpected way. He’s calm, almost happy, and very prepared, as if he’s a therapist working on the authority and not the other way around. Ellis and Howard also make the guy naked, which would normally put a person in an uncomfortable place, but he’s perfectly fine. It’s almost too fine, which is at the root of how things turn in his favor later. In this scene, we learn who these people generally are and where we are too. And it’s not Earth.
This is a less-is-more issue that doesn’t give us every detail we need to fully understand, but that makes it more interesting. We’re hanging on every page hoping to learn new details, but Howard is there to keep our eyes invested. We’re talking impressive explosions, great panel work drawing your eye, and subtly making it clear we are not in an average story but in a sci-fi one. I can’t say enough how exciting this issue is and the level of detail put into an explosion, and the people being blown to bits around them, is impressive.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The holding back on details can be slightly aggravating, though it’s never more annoying than on the last page. Presumably we are meeting the main villain and aside from getting a visual bead on the character there isn’t much else. I’d have liked to know a bit more of what his deal is, though the stakes on his end are quite clear by his facial expression.
Is it good?
This is an excellent first issue that delivers on great action baked into a high concept sci-fi story. It’s a tease to be sure, but a welcome one you’ll want to continue to read to get more answers.