The idea of people acting out on their deepest, darkest impulses is one that creators and consumers alike are fixated upon. With movies like The Purge becoming franchises, it’s apparent how popular this idea is, and with good reason — it’s a way to explore the darkest recesses of human desire, and to dig into a specific character and their motivations. Resonant is a story about this, placed in a world where these deepest desires are forced into action on a frequent basis. Written by David Andry, with art by Alejandro Aragon, colors by Jason Wordie, and letters by Deron Bennett, Resonant is a book with a lot of ideas about how a world would function in this environment. Unfortunately, this first volume tries to do far too much, sacrificing its interesting premise for side elements that just feel like extended detours rather than a compelling part of the story.
The story opens with a family. A father is preparing his children to be able to survive by themselves while he goes out for an uncertain amount of time. Rebecca is the oldest child and only daughter, and is disabled with an amputated leg. Tyrone is the middle child who’s a bit of a rebel. Stef is the youngest child, and he’s bedridden with some severe medical problems. Their father is going on his journey to get medical supplies for Stef. The opening scene does a great job setting the stage for the comic and endearing readers to the family, but it unfortunately is not indicative of the larger story.
While the Waves and the ways different people try to manage them are a fairly interesting premise, that frequently gets lost in the weeds of what this book actually does. The worst example of this is the father’s story. Getting abducted and brought to an island run by a wealthy man is really not the story I expected or really wanted. The story spends so much time on the father on this island fighting off the cannibal tribe at the behest of the man who has bound him without actually digging into anything here, to the point where it’s a bit uncomfortable. The fact that the father (a black man) gets shipped off to this island on a boat with other people in chains has such clear slavery imagery, as does the entire premise of the rich white man forcing the black man to serve him until he dies. While this was not really what I wanted or expected from this story, there was at least content to be mined here. Unfortunately, Andry doesn’t dive into it at all, and the book instead just feels uncomfortable for this entire segment.
Aragon and Wordie add a style to the book that helps form an identity beyond just the story, but it’s a scratchier style that doesn’t always fit the story being told. It’s fantastic during scenes of the Wave, bringing this visceral feeling to the book that perfectly fits the idea of the Waves, but for the more quiet moments the style is far more hit or miss. Wordie’s colors tend to bring a sense of cohesion to the book, but it starts to become a problem during scene transitions when the coloring for the father’s location is near-identical to the forest around the kids’ house. Bennett’s lettering is consistently fantastic, though, especially the chirps of the “chirpers.” It really helps to sell the tension and fear of the Waves.
This book really just feels like a missed opportunity. There are good concepts and ideas that could go a long way, but the book feels hampered by its desire to explore everything that doesn’t feel relevant to the main story. What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t explore those other concepts in a satisfying manner, leaving what is ultimately just a disappointing story.