High Level is one of the only pure sci-fi books coming out today, especially from the big two. It’s part of DC Vertigo’s new line of comics and so far has introduced interesting themes, an imaginative world, and a premise to hang it all on. Things started to heat up with issue #2 and only get hotter here.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Thirteen’s serious doubts about Minnow’s supposedly messianic powers are profoundly challenged when the mysterious child does the impossible to save them both from starving to death in the desert. But survival doesn’t mean safety when the pair’s already-harrowing quest to High Level requires a detour through Nibi Outpost, a treacherous smugglers’ network built under the ruins of the old world…
Why does this matter?
So far writer Rob Sheridan with artist Barnaby Bagenda and color artist Romulo Fajardo Jr. have put in two solid issues. The art is colorful and unique and the story has progressed enough for readers to start guessing at the mysteries at hand.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There are a few creative layout designs in this issue that really stood out, from a page with seven wide panels showing the main characters walking and getting closer as your eye goes down the page, to a fantastic top-down view of the characters walking across a large room. It’s a cool way to explore the space of the page and the space in the world. There are also impressive full-page splashes featuring the environment and wild animals of this world. Both help convey how alien this possible future is very well.
As far as the story goes, this issue explores the world quite a bit from different locations to the animals I mentioned above. There’s even a look at how people of this future spend their time. Bloodsport baby! The final page seems to suggest there’s a different kind of culture to explore even further next issue too.
As far as the story progression, things are moving along nicely. The characters are traveling to High Level and make some progress so that by the end it seems like they could be a short ways off from it. Meanwhile, Thirteen and Minnow gain new respects for one another and their relationship is sprouting well. Minnow is just a kid but she has a lot of heart.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
When the bloodsport kicks in the pace actually slows down. It doesn’t help a gladiator game to the death isn’t very new to a sci-fi story like this, but something doesn’t quite click with a new character popping in either. It’s as if the characters are waiting for the big cliffhanger to start.
Is it good?
Another issue that’s rich with creative world building and heart.
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