"Burning Fields #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel
Illustrated by Colin Lorimer
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 21st, 2014
Sometimes a comic will hook you within the first page. It will show you an image or a span of text that will immediately pull you in. Burning Fields is a comic like that. The very first panel shows a bloody set of pliers with someone saying, "No, please..." and another person reciting some sort ritualistic speech. It only gets bloodier and more terrifying as the sequence continues, but it's enough to get its claws into you. You'll spend the rest of the book wondering about those first two pages and what they mean for the rest of the story.
After a dynamite opening like that, Burning Fields takes a few moments to get the main players in place. Former army investigator Dana Atkinson is called in to...well...investigate a special case in Iraq. Some folks have been disappearing at a drill site and her old commanding officer is working security and needs her help. Dana's been through some shit. Her time with the army did not end well. There are some hints as to what happened, but the details are still a little hazy. She has not yet moved on and this job would open up a lot of old wounds. She seems like the kind of girl that is totally OK with picking some scabs and busting some heads in the process.
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This is quickly shown in an action sequence expertly illustrated by Colin Lorimer. He fills the page with two large images and then spreads out a few smaller shots showing some detailed parts of the fight in between. You get close ups of Dana's face as she grits her teeth, preparing for her assault or the elbow she lands to her attacker's gut. This style pops up a few other times in the issue, providing these small snapshots of the moment that would be missed with a larger shot.
Lorimer also delivers on the gore in both the aforementioned opening scene and a later page that I'm not going to spoil here. The blood really stands out in a stark background. Re-reading these pages makes me cringe. He shows just enough for you to fill in the gruesome details of what happens between the panels, all the while keeping the blood flowing all over the page.
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There are a few great covers for this release, including a 10-year celebration edition by Trevor Hairsine. Lorimer provided an awesome image of fire in front of an oil field, with a face hidden amongst the flames, which is very haunting. Riley Rossmo's cover really stands out, showing a soldier standing in a puddle of blood with his rifle turned up. The tip of the gun is actually an oil tower with fire and smoke billowing out of it. This is a frameworthy cover.
Burning Fields has a few more moving parts than the creative team's previous project, Curse, but the strong character development is the same. These are people that you can instantly identify with. You'll find yourself wondering what you would do in a similar situation. They're underdogs and they're about to come into contact with something dark and evil. The bulk of the issue is spent giving you an idea of who these characters are, with some strong indications of the horror that is lurking just below the surface. This is an impressive first issue that hits the ground running with blood-curdling imagery.