All Against All is a new series from the creative minds of Alex Paknadel, Caspar Wijngaard, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou that may blow your mind. Blending sci-fi with a Tarzan vibe and carnal violence, the first issue is out this week via Image Comics. It’s a story about aliens of a different sort seeking to control and take over other organisms to survive.
This book is, first and foremost, a visual treat. Wijngaard draws and colors the issue to perfection, capturing the wild outlandishness of the setting with drips and smears of pink and other wild colors similar to what he’s done in other great books like Home Sick Pilots. His renderings here span wild overgrown jungles and colorful yet organic interiors of spaceships. Every panel comes alive in its own way, with a blend of texture and color that’s unlike anything you’ll read.
All Against All #1 opens with a handy summary of who the Operators are before diving into the comic itself. This is helpful to anyone who might not like being dropped into a story and figuring things out along the way. Captions reveal a scientist observing wild beasts, and soon we see a polar bear fight a gorilla. They are fighting to the death, but soon that fight stops as three aliens of different build and colors break it up.
The violence of the animals is as violent as when one of these aliens gets attacked, and a skull with tentacles slithers out. The creatures may be the king of the jungle with their weapons, but once they’re cracked open, they’re as weak as a jellyfish. Ultimately there’s some meaning in that, as Paknadel and Wijngaard show us how relying on technology and underestimating Mother Nature can get you killed.
As the story unfolds, we see one of these aliens has a bit of empathy for the animals and a distaste for using them like inanimate objects. Meanwhile, the leaders maintaining control is the most important thing and torturing a few animals to find a new shell to slither into is critical. One can see the connections between a lack of respect for nature and a desire to control it. It’s quite obvious things need to change, or these aliens need to be taken down.
Enter the main protagonist, who is seen in a limited way in this opening issue. Frankly, it would be nice to get more from this character’s perspective, although it’s unclear if they are the threat, not unlike the alien threat in Predator, and will be mainly killing. Their role seems obvious, but who they are or how they fit in remains to be seen.
That said, everything else is well detailed, including the setting, how these alien parasites function, and their plan. This issue doesn’t skimp on answers regarding how this plays a part in our future either, and it’s nice to see a fresh take on alien designs. It checks many boxes and is satisfying in various ways, making it an easy pickup for sci-fi fans or anyone interested in seeing some vividly awesome action.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou adds to the edginess of the overall package thanks to some slight detailing around captions. Dialogue is easy to read, with a slight break in word balloon edges adding to the edgy look. Pay close attention to the word balloon tails, too, as they have a lot of character to them depending on what is being said and who is saying it. I can’t tell if the sound effects are by Otsmane-Elhaou or Wijngaard, but they have a graffiti look to them that’s cool and quite loud in the best of ways.
Caspar and Paknadel draw you into this curious sci-fi world and shake you with a flesh-frazzled visceral grip. Introducing an alien race that feels incredibly original and fresh, there’s a lot here to enjoy besides the enjoyable action. There’s a carnal violence in All Against All not to be missed.
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