A complex science fiction/fantasy story with a lot of potential.
When I first laid eyes on the cover of Dissonance #1, there was something about the art that immediately drew me to it. It might have been the color palette, with its blacks and greys and a splash of hot pink, or the quasi-cybernetic looking ninja that is akin to Ukiyo-e, a genre of centuries-old Japanese art. Whatever it was, I knew this comic was going to be right up my alley.
This isn’t a subtle science fiction comic book. It’s a no-holds-barred blast of galaxy-spanning space futurism right out of the gate. It does its best to get the audience caught up to current events in two pages, but part of enjoying this journey is going to be accepting that certain things aren’t going to make sense for a while. In the way that Saga is unapologetic about constantly throwing new characters and ideas at you, I foresee Dissonance doing the same.
There are a lot of elements at play in this first issue, so it’s tough to say exactly what Dissonance is going to be about. There is the overarching plot of an advanced race called the Fantasmen that’s transcended physical form which inevitably leads to their near destruction. Their union with humans breeds a new golden age for both species, but is shadowed by a dark secret yet to be revealed. There are however, the beginnings of multiple sub plots ranging from bigotry to psychological trauma, sibling rivalry and a big bad on his way to Earth to mess things up.
If you asked me by the cover alone what this comic would be about, my first hundred guesses would have come nowhere close. While complexity can sometimes feel confusing and forced, in this case I think it is a good thing. As events unfold, it should keep the series fresh and the reader guessing — hopefully without overcomplicating itself.
Writer Singgih Nugroho has set up a very compelling story while designer Melita Curphy has created an excellent and unique look for the book’s non-human characters. Artist Sami Basri (Power Girl, Witchblade) does a great job of putting this all on to paper to boot. Dissonance isn’t going to be for everyone but as a sci-fi fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue despite it coming nowhere near my initial assumptions. While the color palette is very bright, the story’s tone has so far stayed on the darker side. I like that this is a story which contains very little humor and appears to be taking itself seriously.
It’s still too early to tell, but I think Dissonance is going to have a good run.