The Warning #1 / Writer & Artist: Edward Laroche / Colors: Brad Simpson / Letters: James Reed / Publisher: Image / Release Date: November 28, 2018
The Previews text does a good job, doesn’t it? Especially for new series. Sometimes, though, that Previews text embellishes what an issue is about in order to grab readers. I can understand that. It’s good PR. Unfortunately this leaves the potential downside of me really wanting to like a thing before I ever hold the book in my hands. So let’s how The Warning #1, a book I want to like, holds up under scrutiny.
The Warning #1 uses time jumps to tell its story, and as such, the narrative could be confusing. During the far past flashback, a scientist and a general discuss findings that indicate a rogue planet is on its way to Earth. The middle past flashback shows a self-destructive scientist being recalled to duty to enact a plan of hers for the military. In the present, the main character boards a troop transport for an undisclosed mission that turns out to be a paradrop. And aside from Buddhist-like musing, that’s the substance of the issue.
Edward Laroche’s pencils in this book are unparalleled. The detail is exquisite. A good example of this is when the soldiers are all gathered in the troop transport and Laroche draws their gear to perfection. He also captures the varied expressions of the soldiers involved. A closeup of a bee is another good example of Laroche’s attention to detail.
Colorist Brad Simpson brings an unexpected look to The Warning #1. Nearly all the panels are slightly faded or washed out. Panels such as those featuring the sky especially call to mind the look of old photographs. It would be wrong to say that Simpson’s work elevates Laroche’s art, because it doesn’t. What it does do is transform it. Bright colors might have given the scene a kind of present urgency, but the slightly faded look gives off a feel of events that have already happened—as though we’re watching a story from the past.
Unnecessarily Long Prologue?
Edward Laroche’s art is exceptional in The Warning #1. If only the same could be said about the story. The main character spends much of the issue musing on philosophies of reincarnation. That musing adds a faux significance to the book and takes up so much time that Laroche never takes the opportunity to give the main character a name. Laroche does give a competitor to the main character a name, but not the main character himself. Further, the jumps in time hide the fact that virtually nothing happens in the issue. One of the flashbacks is nothing more that a character vignette that goes nowhere. The present events which bookend the story start with boarding a plane and end with jumping out of the plane. Whole pages are devoted to the runway sequence of launching the plane. This is a comic book that either doesn’t know what it is or is an unnecessarily long prologue to the main event in issues to follow.
The routine story leaves letterer James Reed with fairly little to do in this issue. There are a variety of narration boxes that he gives different color treatments in order to separate who is thinking. Beyond that, most of the work is routine—voices of radio and a little bit of dialogue. It might have been nice to see Reed get to stretch his legs, so to speak.
On a purely artistic level, The Warning #1 is a great book. In some ways I think parts of it could exist as visual art alone. But a comic book is more than art—it is also a story, and in that respect the issue fails. Too much pretention happens and too little plot. At no time reading this did I consider purchasing a second issue. The art, though—the art is good.
Rating: 2 out 5 unnamed main characters
Theron Couch is a collection of 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters trying to produce Hamlet. From time to time he accidentally types comic book reviews. Theron’s first novel, The Loyalty of Pawns, is available on Amazon and he’s published assorted short stories. Theron maintains a blog with additional comic and book reviews as well as posts on his personal struggle with mental health.