By Angela Cainen
Story: David Hine & Brian Haberlin
Art: Brian Haberlin
Colours: Geirrod Van Dyke
Letters: Francis Takenaga
Do you like space pirates, strong female characters and robot companions? then you will probably enjoy Jules Verne’s Lighthouse #1
The basic set up is this: in the far reaches of space there’s a Lighthouse which guides ships through the myriad of surrounding wormholes. But when pirates attack things get a lot more dangerous as mysteries and secrets are revealed.
Our main POV character is Vasquez, a woman who does indeed have a secretive and tortured past, hints of which are revealed throughout this first issue. Vasquez is an interesting character (I love a character with secrets and self guilt) and I do look forward to learning more about her. She’s seemingly on the Lighthouse for life but we don’t know why. Joining her are Captain Moriz, an old fashioned sea dog type captain, despite the fact he’s in space, Felipe a young woman who also has secrets, Ekk an alien who does not appear fond of the others and my favourite Moses, a nanny robot programmed to protect Vasquez’s well being.
Look, you put a robot in your book and I am there, and Moses is a great character in the tradition of robot sidekicks. Capable, honest, a bit funny and rather sweet. He’s a great counterpoint to Vasquez, a more battle hardened individual. He’s also full of information and acts as exposition but in a very organic way (and I realise a robot being organic seems a contradiction but trust me).
What I especially love about this issue is that there are so few traditional panel layouts. Panels are different styles and shapes, laid out on top of each other, with white spaces in between. Sometimes there’s a more traditional layout of pages of long panels but most of the time they are broken up in some way. With a sci-fi comic this really helps especially in the vastness of space where this is set. It feels like there’s space within the pages just as there is space surrounding the characters and setting.
Brian Haberlin’s art is also detailed and some of the faces are very characterful. Ekk in particular is very well drawn with a distinct alien look, even his emotions read slightly differently that they would on a human face. The colouring by Gierrod Van Dyke also helps make Ekk stand out in contrast to the human characters. Not to say the human characters aren’t well realised. Captain Moriz has that sea dog look and determination, even though he doesn’t always make the best decisions he’s still got good qualities. Vasquez has pain showing in her face and Moses looks adorable.
The space is depicted as a light blue sea of stars and the wormholes look good. The Lighthouse itself is the most fascinating environment however, as it has so many rooms and places to hide (useful for Vasquez and Moses). It feels like a complex. A complex complex if you will. It’s great when a setting feels like a character and there’s certainly an aspect of that here.
There’s a lot of plot to juggle for writers David Hine and Brian Haberlin (again) but they do well. There’s some set up for mysteries outside on the asteroid where the Lighthouse is, along with who has betrayed the station to the pirates led by the formidable Captain Kongre. Plus, the background of all the characters, but everything here is laid out well and there’s some real meaty plot stuff to enjoy along with some well written characters.
Moses is my favourite (and the lettering of his speech by Francis Takenaga is excellently done) yet all of the characters are interesting. Each has their flaws and likeable points but they are pretty well rounded for the short time we’ve spent with them so far.
I really enjoyed this first issue. I am excited to see where it goes. The visuals were an interesting and pleasurable experience to read and the plot is intriguing. What is the pirates’ end goal? Who is helping them? Will the surviving members of the crew join them? What do they want with Vasquez? I love a good mystery to hang on to.
Plus there’s a loveable robot.
I would say 5 out of 5 wormholes, please can I have more?