In the Future... There be Dinosaurs

Ei8ht #1

Dark Horse Comics

Conceived by Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque
Writing: Mike Johnson
Art/Colors/Cover: Rafael Albuquerque
Letters: Nate Piekos

Before We Begin...
Dark Horse is putting out some incredible new series this year! This issue (part 1 of a 5 part story) follows that trend in a big way. Mike Johnson has done a bunch of work for DC Comics (such as New 52 Supergirl, Earth 2: World's End, and various Superman related issues) but what really accredits his work on this issue is his sci-fi experience with IDW on Star Trek and Transformers titles. With titles like that under his belt there was not a single doubt that he would be able to pull off an extremely enjoyable story in this genre. On the flip side of that Rafael Albuquerque has showcased his artful talents and legendary layouts on well known titles such as American Vampire, Blue Beetle, and Batwoman. His panel layouts and distinct art style is a welcome touch to any story, and constantly provides an even more detailed world. This is not a duo I expected to see work together (minus some possible Batman/Superman work) but I'm damn glad they did.

And Now...
Joshua is gentleman with a past that he is trying to rectify. It is eluded to that something has happened to a woman in his life, and that he will do anything to make sure she is alright. He gets the chance to prove that when a scientist agrees to help him out if he goes to find a dangerous man with a scar over his right eye... in the future. The scientist explains that they should be able to communicate with him once he arrives in the future as long as he is tuned to channel 8 on his fancy radio. Joshua writes the number 8 on his arm as a reminder of everything the scientist has told him, and before he knows it is flung into the future. Upon arriving, he eventually gets his bearings and remembers who he is and why he is there (more or less). Still confused, his radio broadcasts instructions from a voice he doesn't recognize to "Follow the dinosaur!" A small raptor looking fellow appears, Joshua gives chase, and winds up getting captured by some locals, still very confused. From there he finds himself at their mercy, quite possibly in danger.

Johnson mixes Joshua's past and present perfectly in this story using well placed flashbacks. The flashbacks not only prep the reader on what the mission is, but also really humanize Joshua's character. The locals he encounters are written as bold and protective of what they have left, while subtly giving the reader more info about the world. Instead of taking a couple of issues to have Joshua explain/explore the world, I can really appreciate how Johnson just tosses him in and has the reader figuring everything out at the same rate he is.

And of Course There Is...
Glorious art! Great character models, great faces, great dinosaurs! Each character owns their actions while the other characters react accordingly. The faces show intent and confidence while the outfits show a struggling world. By the way, Joshua has consistent facial hair, that's so rare! A character with scruff (NOT a full beard) that is drawn with the scruff in the same order in each panel. There is a clearly high level of detail in this issue, which is curiously emphasized further by the unique color scheme. This book uses probably 5 colors at most (almost/possibly all of which are on the cover) to create an atmosphere that could only be unique to this story. While the characters are all shaded in green/blue colors, the locals have red facepaint that pops out of the page and provides an even further level of individuality. The same red is used to show blood, adding more intensity to wounds/violence (there isn't a ton of that in this issue). Oh yeah and Albuquerque draws dinosaurs like a champion, fyi.

What Does it All Mean?
Ei8ht #1 has provided a new sci-fi experience by placing the reader not on another planet, but in another time, with more questions popping up on every page. Johnson and Albuquerque produced a story with a confident direction, that immediately starts to develop the future and the unique characters that inhabit it. The first issue came out on the 18th and costs $3.50, pick it up and I am sure you'll be able to forget about the weather for a while.

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