What Lies Beneath...

The Surface #1

Image Comics

Writer: Ales Kot
Drawings: Langdon Foss
Color: Jordie Bellaire
Design: Tom Muller
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Where to Begin...
Ales Kot is continuously showing what a successfully cerebral writer he is, (as exhibited in Zero and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier) and The Surface further proves that. Mixing his writing style with the interestingly detailed, almost abstract art of Langdon Foss (Bucky Barnes: TWS, Warrior Nun) provides an  uncertain world and story that seems broad and energetic.

The Words
Alright so this book kind of blew my mind in terms of density, world building, and supplementary materials (all of which were incorporated into the actual story). Almost immediately we get a look at the President of the Three States' suffocating look at personal information and individuality, or lack there of. Watching the President's broadcast is Mark, his son, and Mark's two lovers, Nasia (a young woman) and Gomez (a young man). The trio possess the very hacker mentality which the President is trying to repress, and decide that in order to get the real freedom/escape they are looking for they must find The Surface. What is The Surface? It is a location shrouded in mystery, said to awaken those who go there about the world's truths. Those who go there come back and see the world in a way that makes it seem fake. It's hard to explain, partially because everyone has a different idea of it, but mostly because it is intentionally vague. ANYWAY, Gomez, Nasia, and Mark go through great effort to elude the constantly watching eye of their current residence (in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to be precise) and embark on their journey to find and discover The Surface.

Look, that small synopsis does NOT do this book justice. Kot treats the world as a character just as important as the principle cast, providing a personality further shown by the various articles throughout the story. The ideologies and opinions that the characters exhibit are well thought out, and especially in the trio, provides a very real feeling of enthusiasm. There isn't a ton of character development in this issue which is fine, because once you arrive at the end you can tell that this was clearly a buffer issue meant to lead to a chapter of pure discovery and fascination.

Foss draws a detailed world that matches Kot's evocative dialogue extremely well. The two main locations in the book, Dar Es Salaam and the desert that they must travel through, each have their own amount of distinct detail. In the case of Dar Es Salaam the buildings themselves are each unique and are composed of various geometric shapes, but when the skyline is shown and veiled with a sandy sepia tone by Bellaire, the city becomes the singular machine that the President wants to maintain. The desert is drawn to be vast and empty, totally devoid of the advancement man kind has provided the city. This provides an even greater sense of dedication from the three kids towards their journey. The character models also have tons of detail. Faces have contours to make expressions that are understandable while clothes have ripples and puckers that look very organic. Also, everyone has really cool hair styles. Bellaire's colors provide another layer of individuality to each of the locations in the book, giving each one a distinct feel and atmosphere.

What I'm Trying to Say Is...
This book is just great. This week a lot of good series started that people have known about for a long time, so this may have fallen by the wayside, but it deserves a ton of attention. Ales Kot provides game changing story in relation to individuality and technology's growing presence in society, and I can't wait to see how his style changes once the cast arrives at The Surface. Langdon Foss makes you feel the importance of every panel and you can tell he is having fun doing it. The characters and actions exude life and much like Kot, that's only going to change with the arrival at The Surface. This book has rich dialogue and eye popping visuals, all of which combine to provide a comic that has promise, drive, and makes you think. The Surface #1 came out on the the 11th and is listed at $3.50.

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