Publisher: Heavy Metal
Writer: Ryan K Lindsay
Artist: Sebastian Piriz
Editor: R.G. Llarena
We might be a bit late with our review of Black Beacon #1 but here it is!
What is life but a series of stories? At the heart of Black Beacon are just that; stories. Not just because one of the central characters is the living documenter of a mission but because the world she finds herself in feels alien and fantastical, like something out of a story on a fairly epic scale at times.
Black Beacon hits the ground running. There’s not much exposition in the first few pages as we are plunged headlong into an alien world. This is a very effective bit of storytelling as it means that we can very much relate to the main human character, Niko, when she appears to find a world that is not as she expected. That dislocation is something the reader shares at first as we gradually pick up more of the nuances of the world building.
The basic plot follows Bar, our main alien character, who stumbles across Niko. Bar is a great character whose use of expletives adds both tension and comedy. He’s the local law enforcement but there seems to be more to him than that. He’s a loner, well, until he finds Niko. Niko herself has arrived after a message went out inviting people to this particular planet and so everyone came. There’s not enough space for everyone so they compete for plates, and the right to stay.
I still struggle to grasp some of the world building but I feel that’s to be expected. A lot of ground gets covered in this first issue which is packed full of different places and aliens. At times it’s hard to keep up but it’s an interesting ride.
The art really helps with that. It’s one of the strongest aspects of the issue. It’s not always easy to be original when depicting space, aliens and planets but here there’s a real confidence in the way that the line work and colouring build up a picture of a very different world. The designs for the aliens feel alien, which is not always a given with this sort of book. The cities and towns feel just that little bit different to what you might find on earth. The use of colours really supports that with different hues picking out the general feel of different places.
It’s also really strong when seeing Bar use his fist. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. It’s a really interesting bit of action and the way it is portrayed is something different. I liked the art choices being made. Despite all the different settings it feels very coherent style wise.
There are still mysteries in this book and you get the feeling there’s some deeper mysteries still to be explored. I like that aspect of exploration in reading as this feels a book you explore. The characters are well established. I am especially intrigued by Bar who seems to have more than meets the eye about him. I want to know more about him going forward. I also want to see more of what Niko is about and what she may discover on this new planet.
Overall I am very thoroughly intrigued.