What an Island Can Do
Mark Miller is my favourite writer so I was naturally really looking forward to this series. I have however not managed to find time to review any of the issues so far, but am doing so now. The reviews will be done as if I've not read any of the issues preceding them, letting the story and development until then speak for itself.
In 1932 Sheldon Sampson had a dream about an island, leading a team their. They would return as superheroes, and now in the present they hope that their children will follow in their footsteps.
This was a fantastic issue, and although it wasn't quite as good as I hoped it would be it was a brilliant start for the series. Mark Millar did an amazing job of creating this new world, and introducing all the characters, whilst keeping the gritty style that he usually does. Millar also added a lot of drama and suspense in this issue, also having some exciting moments as well. It was however at certain points slightly slow, but that's expected from an opening issue, especially when it's introducing a brand new set of characters. Millar did however also produce some brilliant dialogue in this issue, with the character interaction adding a lot of depth and tone to the story.
The artwork in this issue was however simply phenomenal, and Frank Quitely did an outstanding job. The detail of Quitely's art was simply amazing, being very consistent throughout. The layout of Quitely's artwork was also brilliant, as although not the most unique style, with the backgrounds also being a bit plain for most of the issue, it still managed to add a lot of depth, also giving more drama as well. Quitely also did a superb job of showing the characters facial expressions and emotions throughout this issue, as although some of the expressions were slightly awkward looking, it added more drama and suspense to the rest of the issue, also making the story feel more realistic.
This issue would start 81 years in the past, with one of the main characters in the series Sheldon Sampson having a dream about an island, and leading a group of people their, with them returning with superpowers. I was very happy that Millar added this sequence to the issue, as it showed how all these characters got their powers. At the same time the transition between this sequence and the present wasn't one of the smoothest that I've ever seen. I did however enjoy the contrast in styles between this sequence and the present though, as it added a bit of variety to the issue.
The issue would quickly move to the present, showing Sheldon's children Brandon and Chloe. They would also have superpowers, though unlike their parents they didn't seem as eager to become superheroes. This part of the issue would also show the why Millar's work is for mature readers, being gritty and having some suggestive dialogue. It was however the dialogue as a whole that made these sequences as dramatic as they were, also helping to give the tone and atmosphere that this issue needed.
We'd also get to see how some superhero work during this issue, with Sheldon, now being called Utopian, his wife undefined Grace, his brother Walter and other heroes battling a villain called Blackstar. Now apart from this being a very exciting sequence, it would also show how much these characters have changed from the opening sequence. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Utopian and Walter, and how much they differed in opinion, with this adding yet more drama and suspense to the issue, as well as more depth as well. I also found their superhero costumes to be very interesting, as although not as slick as the Marvel or DC heroes, they had a very unique style to them.
This was a brilliant start to the series, as although not quite as good as I initially hoped it would be, it introduced the characters and the situation of this world perfectly, having some very dramatic moments throughout. The character interaction was also amazing, with some suspenseful moments as well. Due to all this, as well as the fact that Frank Quitely's on the artwork makes this easy to recommend.