Changes Are Coming…
Comic book writing, the script side, is generally considered a solitary venture. One person as artist/writer. A tag team of writer and artist. Rarely any more, a story by with script from someone else, as the 70s Marvel Universe oft worked. EVOLUTION #1 from Image breaks that paradigm into pieces with four writers (James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson) all credited. Each takes on a different mosaic tile in this global horror story steeped in, as the title hints, a change – a change coming to all of humanity. This is horror writ large, and yet immensely personal as well.
After a quick intro of unnatural rituals, this first issue travels from Philadelphia to Rome, Italy to Los Angeles in a dizzying kaleidoscope of doctors and nuns, haunted patients and mutating gunmen, film hoarders and transients. A world much like our own, filled with human foibles, but too an underlying decay, dissipation. Perhaps growing up an LA denizen, but the Hollywood memorabilia decay that haunts Claire hit amazingly close to home. Most effecting though, Dr. Hurley’s travels to his home through Philadelphia with its hints that everything, everyone, is corrupted, with its change to a cold metallic typeface to indicate his reports, is chilling and terrifying. Pat Brosseua’s lettering reflects that. Has the ritual brought the end of the world, or is everyone simply running out of time? The collective writers come together to commit a unified vision of this dying world.
The singular pencil work of Joe Infurnani ties the story together in a neat bow. With some nods to Bill Sienkiewicz (and his Neal Adamsish early-Moon Knight work), his art hearkens back to the 70s scratchy pencil vibe of CREEPY/EERIE in its heyday of the amazing Spanish and Filipino artists of that period like Luis Bermejo and García Mozos. Jordan Boyd’s washed out colors only intensify this feel. Neatly choosing an overlay hue for each sequence, the deft colors heighten the sepia of Roma, as though looking through a haze. This is a book that would be at home on the shelves magazine-sized in 1974 on the shelf next to CREEPY and Skywald’s NIGHTMARE. Even the storyline itself, while ostensibly set “Now” as per the captions, has nothing to do with our modern world, with its absence of cell phones (note especially the wall phone used by Claire in the Hollywood sequence) and the vague automobiles. The television trucks of Roma seem from another time. In an age of faux nostalgia, this works easily, and perfectly. It gives an odd timelessness to the book, while tying it to the doomsday history of 70s horror films all too well.
Lastly, the artist and three of the writers examine horror in the last few pages, discussing the influences that came to the creation of EVOLUTION and where they hope to take it. And, an invite to contribute to their letters column. Both kudos in book.
EVOLUTION 1 is coming this Wednesday, November 15 from Image. Horror fans, definitely check it out!
Review by Joe Hilliard