The first issue of this new miniseries from Archaia read a great deal like the work of someone new to the comics medium. Which is a little shocking, considering it’s written by longtime comics artist and writer Phil Hester (who also provides one of the several covers) and illustrated by Frazer Irving, an artist who also has plenty of great comics work on his resume.
Hester gives way too much information about unimportant things on several pages (including two splash pages featuring static images of the protagonist with columns of text narration that seem more appropriate for a work of prose), and too little information about more important matters.
Presumably in an attempt to keep a little mystery about the protagonist and premise, Hester lets the entire first issue slip by without giving readers much more than hints of what may come in future issues, or even answering pretty obvious questions that arise in the course of the story. Not only do the creators tell when they should show, sometimes they’re a little too coy about even telling.
The book opens with the old info dump-via-newscast, this one about a deadly disease rampaging through Swaziland that could threaten apocalypse, before we get the first guy-posing-and-narrating splash page, followed by a scene of doctor’s in biohazard suits, not exactly the most visually arresting subject matter, talking about the disease and whether or not they’ll be able to cure it. And talking and talking and talking about it.
They all look more-or-less identical, save for “Dr. Steward,” who wears sunglasses under his biohazard suit (See, he has unusual eyes, so he needs to wear sunglasses to disguise them).
He then flashes back to the time of the dinosaurs, when he was a lonely dude wandering around with some bipedal herbivores because they were the things most like him in the world. Apparently, this guy is some sort of immortal. Although he can also maybe time-travel, at least a little…?
He’s eventually able to help save the day, moreso through calling on his vast experience and some acts of derring-do than anything very medical or scientific, and this is apparently what he does—staves off the apocalypse by making a difference during a particular day, although no one remembers the events of that day or his role in them except for him (and readers of Days Missing).
If I’ve got that right, and I’m not positive I do, it’s not a bad premise for an ongoing series, although it seems more like a television series than a comic (it definitely reads more like an illustrated TV pilot than a couple of very talented comic book artists’ idea for a comic book that plays to their strengths). Execution is, of course, everything, and unfortunately this just isn’t executed very well.