"Onyx #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Chris Ryall
Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 1st, 2015
There are countless movies where a strange being from outer space crash lands on our world, throwing the local populace into a sci-fi adventure. There's a reason for that: it's a pretty cool idea. Imagine something dropping in from out of the blue and reframing everything you know about the universe. Onyx has a bit of that flare, but the world around it is already in dire straits. There are more than 10 billion people on earth and they're running out of food and places to live. War over territory is a thing of the past. Instead, it's about survival. There are no space colonies or terraforming Mars. This makes the sudden arrival of a cyborg warrior from the stars along with a space virus that mutates everything around it all the crazier.
Writer Chris Ryall jumps immediately into the action with Onyx. This first issue starts out with a strange meteorite landing and a team of soldiers are sent in to investigate. They're not entirely sure what to expect when they get there, especially since they're the second team to go in. The first group disappeared. This makes the sudden appearance of giant deformed vultures, each with eight eyes and clawlike wings, all the more terrifying. Seriously, these things show up out of nowhere and just start tearing apart the transport.
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That's just the beginning when it comes to the terrors that this new alien foe is capable of. The meteorite spore affects everything around it, so local wildlife mutates, turning into large beasts. It can also get into humans, which makes fighting it very difficult. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez delivers some pretty disturbing creations here. It's tough to pick the scariest one, as they're all like something that would come from a 10-year-old's fever dream.
That 10-year-old translates a bit to the title character as well. She emerges from her crash landing, decked out like a space knight, making short work of these new monsters and the soldiers before jumping into an exposition-heavy bout of dialogue to explain who she is, where she comes from, and what her purpose is on the planet. This moment specifically comes like an abrupt stop, especially since the action was so strong up to that point. We were running a mile a minute and then we take a sudden break to talk about backstory.
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The soldiers are rather run of the mill as well, fulfilling your basic stereotypes when it comes to these types of characters. There's an old veteran, a tomboy, a by-the-book straight-lacer, a nerd, and a sensitive loner. Ryall introduces each of them by name in the first few pages, outlining their jobs, but aside from Abigail Aquino of the Psi Ops Division, they seem pretty interchangeable. Abigail is the loner. That's actually her tag too. She literally keeps to herself, keeping a noticeable from the others in the group. Abigail is the most relatable of the bunch. This is helped along with Rodriguez's artwork. She may be the dork of this team, but she's clearly the one that you'd want to hang out with. She has a worried look about her, like she's vulnerable. This is due to the onslaught of voices she tries to stifle as she ventures out in the world.
Onyx and the soldiers perform the obligatory fight before friendship that comes with any team up in comics. They don't understand one another and think they're enemies, so they have a quick battle before getting to the same page and finding the common foe. Just once I'd like an alien to fall onto our world without an army guy wanting to shoot it right when he sees it.
Onyx has an interesting premise that's packed with traditional sci-fi fun. It's a bit clunky at parts and contains some stereotypical characters. Fortunately, it jumps right into the thick of things, dealing with aliens, monsters, and more. The character of Onyx has a Silver Surfer quality to her, venturing from world to world in an effort to stop the spread of this inhuman plague.