"Ei8ht #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Story by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
Written by Mike Johnson
Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on February 18th, 2015
Amnesia can be a scary thing. Sure, it seems fun in sitcoms, but in real life it can be creepy. Imagine waking up in a strange desert-like place with no knowledge of how you got there or why. You don't even know your name. That's where Joshua is right now and he's pretty freaked out. Just wait until he sees the dinosaur. This is how Ei8ht starts up and despite having a title that's really annoying to type, it's got a great hook.
What immediately stands out in Ei8ht is the color. Artist Rafael Albuquerque set up a handy color guide that's outlined on the first page. The past is green. The present is purple. The future is blue. The Meld is something else entirely. This helps differentiate between the flashbacks and the "current" events with Joshua struggling to survive in the Meld. This area is kind of a mixture of past, present, and future, devoid of most color. It's like it's struggling to figure out where it belongs in the timeline.
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This is going to out me for the loser I am, but the Meld reminds me a bit of the Phantom Zone as depicted in Smallville. It has that washed out look, like it's seen some really hard times. The people living here (if you can call it that) are rough around the edges.
There is a look of desperation in Joshua. That stands to reason considering he doesn't know where he is or why he's here. You can see it in his eyes. Albuquerque did a tremendous job with the character illustrations. The design for Joshua's suit looks like it was created by someone from a bygone time asked to make something futuristic. The result is something in between, giving off the sci-fi vibe while also looking old.
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Joshua's mission is still a little vague. We don't know why he went back (or forward?) in time or if anything went wrong to land him in the Meld. This mystery pulls you in. It makes you want to know more about this harsh world and the people in it. With the flashbacks, it feels a bit like a sci-fi version of Lost. Writer Mike Johnson is slowly filling in the gaps that led to Joshua getting in the machine.
Ei8ht is like Mad Max set on Tatooine. Instead of riding tricked out death machines, people ride dinosaurs. Joshua has plopped down in the middle of this world with a mission, but he doesn't remember what that is. There's no telling what he might encounter next, but if it's anything like what he just went through, things will get worse before they get better.