Cemetery Beach #1 // Review
Cemetery Beach is a new seven issue miniseries from Image Comics, written by Warren Ellis, with art done by Jason Howard and lettering by Fonografiks. If the first issue is anything to go by, this is a story that will be heavy on action and lighter on exposition.
Issue 1 doesn’t bother with explaining what’s going on, instead jumping right into the action. Mike Blackburn is a soldier from Earth on a reconnaissance mission to an off-world colony. The name of the colony and why it was established remain mysterious, as does the name of the organization that captured Mike.
Other characters introduced are Grace Moody, a possible native of the colony and prisoner where Mike was being held, and President Barrow, the apparent leader of the colony. Their backstories remain a mystery.
Ellis keeps readers in the dark about what’s going on. The location is given the bare minimum of explanation- the planet isn’t Earth, and once you arrive, you can’t leave. Characters have names but nothing else. The writing is purposefully vague, giving readers no more knowledge than the main character has. Many of the panels are completely without dialogue, relying entirely on the artwork to move the plot forward.
The art style can best be described as feeling like a sketch. Lines are rough and almost shaky, with the shading being done by what looks like hatching. Howard gives the art a rough and tumble look, but it fits the lawless, almost wild-west-in-space feeling of the comic. It might not work for everything, but it certainly works for this comic. The colors have a similar loose feel to the linework. There isn’t much blending between colors, but this also fits in with the rest of the art style. Most of the colors used are cool tones- blues, greys, and purples, which is contrasted by the reds, yellows, and oranges used for the explosions and gunshots.
While at times it feels frustrating to be kept so in the dark, ultimately, it keeps things suspenseful and interesting. The cliffhanger ending means that issue #2 can’t come fast enough. Hopefully it will provide more background information while maintaining the fast pace. Telling a full story in seven issues is a lot to ask, and telling a good story even more so, but the team behind Cemetery Beach seems more than up to the task. This is a comic that is well worth reading.