Written By: Al Ewing
Illustrated By: Simone Di Meo
With Color Assists By: Mariasara Miotti
Lettered By: AndWorld Design
Covers By: Simone Di Meo, Jenny Frison, Christian Ward, Matias Bergara & Toni Infante
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Available: September 2, with a cover price of $3.99
The Gods are always beautiful. And the Gods are always dead.
Out this week from Boom! Studios is yet another sci-fi smash, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, the joint brainchild of Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and Simone Di Meo (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers).
It’s the late 24th century and humanity, having plumbed the Earth and all known asteroids and planets of useful minerals, has taken to scavenging from the carcasses of alien gods, adrift at the edge of deep space. Massive and impossibly beautiful, these beings are a wonderful—and our only—source of protein, minerals, metals and even fabric. The resources are plumbed by autopsy ships both independent and corporate-funded, all under the strict and watchful eye of the government. Harvesting claims are first-come, first-served…mostly. Depending on one’s corporate backer.
Enter the Vihaan II, captained by Georges Malik. He and his crew of four (the Captain, Coroner Ella Hauer, Engineer Jason Hauer and Quartermaster Alice Wirth) have had enough of the game-playing and manipulation, the deadly oversight of a power-hungry government and its agents. They’ve got some ideas, ideas they can’t even speak aloud while operating, since the very ship itself has ears. Key among those ideas?
Find a living God.
Ewing and Di Meo set us up with a seriously cool concept, taking the standard futuristic, deep-space, Earth’s screwed so we have to scavenge our sustenance elsewhere under the all-seeing eye of a controlling government trope and adding a unique spin to it, one fraught with all kinds of potential for world—nay, universe—building and religio-philosophical theorizing.
All well and good, but big whup if they can’t deliver the goods in terms of interesting writing and engaging art.
Thankfully, they deliver the goods.
Ewing has fun playing with his narrative: the tale is largely from the perspective of Captain Malik, though via a third-person perspective which allows us to see some of the goings-on among other crews and characters in the story. The story itself is tight and fast-paced; we’re left to intuit much of the backstory and established relationships among characters that our tale is clearly loaded with. Rather than bog the reader down with narration, Ewing trusts his readers and his art to fill in the blanks. He also employs a couple situational examples within this first issue to establish the politics of his universe—all while establishing personalities and motivations for his characters on board Vihaan II. This is a really cool story, told by a master storyteller.
And goodness, the art.
Not having read MMPR (despite buddy Paul’s strong endorsement of it), I’d been uninitiated to the art of Simone Di Meo. Holy Wah! am I glad that’s been rectified. Manga tinged but not overly so, Di Meo’s lines are strikingly reminiscent of Battle of the Planets, in every possible good way…only better. Befitting the scope and setting (I mean, the Vihaan II harvests 100 tons of neatly-trimmed meat…from the God’s right cheek!), he plays a great deal with panel structure, shape and size to powerful effect. Ships are interestingly rendered and unique, erring on the side of what would seem to be practical for a gigantic, deep-space meat-harvesting operation. Characters are unique to each other and visually interesting, and he is able to offer the grand scale, the HUGENESS of both space and the scavenged alien god without losing perspective or focus on the characters and ships of our story.
Aiding in this task are his and Mariasara Miotti’s colors. And wow, are they gorgeous. If you ever wanted an example of what the colorist does, how necessary a function they serve, flip through this book. Vivid, atmospheric, enhancing and engaging—and GORGEOUS!—We Only Find Them is a masterclass presentation in how color should be done. I mean, look at the panels above and below this paragraph. Freaking stunning.
The lettering by AndWorld Design does its job more than admirably, presenting a variety of fonts and styles for varying characters and functions (for example, a separate, more artistic font for the narrator, a more workmanlike standard font for speaking characters).
Ooh, and if you’re of the variant cover-collecting variety, there’s some gorgeous ones to be found, from the likes of Jenny Frison, Christian Ward and others; your challenge, dear reader, will be in picking just one (though I’d encourage you just to get them all)!
All told, an excellent and visually highly appealing premiere, one in a line of so many from Boom!. Look for We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, Issue One this Wednesday at your LCS, on Amazon.com or comiXology.
Review by Andy Patch
Contributing Editor, thePullbox.com