Rating: 3.5/5 – Shipwrecked and Lost in a Fog of Confusing Circumstance
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Brunell
Based on the past few months since their debut, I’ve decided to try anything from Aftershock, I had not yet read an Aftershock comic that I didn’t like. I figured to grab the first issue of Shipwreck, and see what brilliant masterpiece they have provided the comics reading public this time. Instead, while reading the comic, I felt as lost as the main character, Jonathan Shipwright.
Maybe the comic is supposed to be read like a lost and forgotten sunken ship. I’m reading through the pages again and again, trying to find a neutral territory to keep myself from being lost, but I can’t seem to find it. Writer Warren Ellis has a long list of amazing pieces of work that I have adored and read over and again, he is probably one of the most captivating writers to pull me in and not let go. With Shipwreck it not only has failed to pull me in and keep me latched to the dock, but it has actually set me adrift.
The dialogue of the characters had me going back and forth between pages and sliding my fingers against the pages to see if I had accidentally skipped a page. I was just as lost as the main character, Jonathan Shipwright. The environment is a lost and desolate land, which most likely represents the ultimate stage of being lost. The extra characters that Jonathan encounters seem like something out of a Steven King novel; they are twisted, creepy, and feel as if the main character is in a nightmare or lost in a coma and this is his way of trying to fight to wake up. The first issue left me with so many questions, and it’s obviously supposed to, but so many questions left me not wanting to continue. There is a limit as to how much to shove in front of me as a reader to think about while still being enjoyable, and Shipwreck went too far for me. If some other readers loves a complete mystery that slowly reveals itself over the course of many issues, then this might be their book, but I am as confused as Mr. Shipwright at the end of this issue.
Though I couldn’t keep up with the dialogue, artist Phil Hester kept me going with his dynamic and well-crafted illustrations. Hester’s art has a surface similarity to Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy comics, and I’m left in amazement. Hester left me turning each page wanting to see what he was going to offer up next. In the end, the words had ceased to be an issue because they didn’t matter anymore, the art alone was captivating.
I have a feeling that since every Aftershock comic so far has been well crafted that this ship will eventually clear through the mist and right its course. That said, just having Hester’s art pulling me past the confusing dialogue in the comic is not enough to keep me from abandoning this ship. I couldn’t get into this story that bounced around so much and seemed to lack an internal logic, even though that could very well get cleared up in the long run. This is the first comic written by Ellis that I’ve read where I wasn’t left captivated enough to move forward to a second issue.
Reviewed by: Adam Brunell
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