On Wednesday (August 2nd) the new title ELSEWHERE – issue one – hit the comic book shelves. It was a book that in solicits caught my attention quite quickly as it’s about the “fantastic story of what really happened to Amelia Earhart.” I personally have always found the mystery of her disappearance quite interesting, and a comic about it sounded FANTASTIC (see what I did there?)
The issue starts off pretty solid. We’re introduced to two characters – Tavel and Korvath – who are making their escape from what we can only assume is a prison. It’s made very clear to us that they’re running for their lives, and it adds a bit of intensity to the story. Now, the dialogue isn’t perfect, but it’s enough to get you along their escape.
Something I noticed right off the bat is that the art – by Sumeyye Kesgin – is a too bit stylized for my taste. Now, art is subjective and many people have varying tastes on what they like and don’t, but this is something that seems to me if the story doesn’t grab a reader it could be the very nail in this book’s coffin that causes them to drop it.
We’re quick to be introduced to who is indisputably the main character of this story, Amelia Earhart. It was a quick reveal. A reveal that followed what is the seeming pace of how this first issue was told, fast. Tavel and Korvath find her hanging in a tree by her parachute, as she and her navigator – Fred Noonan – had jumped from their plane, but were separated in their descent.
I love that Fred missing is one of the plot pushers of the overall story, and is a blatant focus of this first issue, as we’re instantly shown such when the cast of characters – Amelia, Tovel and Korvath – are flying what’s called “Steeds,” and they hear Amelia reference her plane. They tell her how the word is foreign to this “world” they’re from, but they heard the person in the cell next to them use it. This immediately, as I had said, sets up that finding Fred is the goal while simultaneous making it that the evil ruler – Kragen – has him. It’s again falling in line with the story’s fast pace, and keeps this issue rolling.
Something I always look for in a story is the writer’s (and artist’s) capability of conveying emotion. I got it in this issue as Tovel and Korvath were discussing amongst themselves about whether or not they were going to help Amelia, and we see her break down a bit. She struggled to hold herself together until finding Fred, and it shows me that they have a grasp on the basic relationship of friends and how to convey the feeling of loss. We see her start to cry, and she bonds with her steed, which we quickly find out are empathetic and it usually takes awhile for them to bond with their rider.
The essential goal of a FIRST issue to a book is to be set up, and the basic thesis. We got a lot of set up; from the introduction to our main cast of characters to Amelia bonding with the steed who will surely come into play throughout the entire story, and the fact that they “know” where Fred is. Now, the story so far is pretty solid, though my complaint with this book is the eh-okay dialogue. It seems a bit basic overall, and doesn’t have a deeper grasp on this world that was set up for us. This does set up something I hope Jay Faerber (writer) can step up a few notches in the coming issues.
That being said, I personally would not be picking up the second issue if it were not for the HUGE end reveal. This being built up around Fred, as Amelia, Tovel and Korvath have devised a plan to break him out of Kragen’s fortress. She had made it so she too was captured and imprisoned, and as they were surely hoping for, Amelia was placed in the cell with the individual who Tovel and Korvath heard reference a plane. This man is cast in shadow. “Fred? Is that you,” the man heard Amelia call to him and he replies, “Who the hell’s Fred?” Then we come to find that the man is none other than… Dan Cooper, a.k.a. DB Cooper!
ELSEWHERE #1 is currently out, and ELSEWHERE #2 will be on a shelf in a comic shop nearest you on September 6th.