"Days Missing: Volume 1" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by American Mythology Comics
Written by Phil Hester, David Hine, Ian Edginton, and Matz
Illustrated by Frazer Irving, Chris Burnham, Lee Moder, and Hugo Petrus
Colored by Imaginary Friends Studios, Caravan Studios, and Lizzy John
2010, 144 Pages
It's easy to say that we're probably one hair-trigger away from complete and total annihilation as a species. Wow, this review got dark pretty quickly. Fortunately for the human race, there's someone looking out for us. The Steward works in the shadows by bending time. He steps in for a 24-hour period when humanity has done something horrible that will lead towards extinction. He then works to influence the people involved and then erases the day from history, allowing us to correct the path and continue on with our lives, completely oblivious to how far we've come to destruction.
Days Missing is a brilliant concept. It has a very Quantum Leap feel to it, however the Steward is nowhere near as funny or amusing as Sam Beckett. He's very clinical and stoic. I guess that comes with having been alive for millions of years and watching species rise and fall. Deep down, he's just so alone. He's been protecting and shepherding the human race so that he'll finally have a companion in this world, and that is probably the saddest thing ever. The poor guy just wants to have a chat around the water cooler about last night's ball game and he can't do that because we keep trying to blow ourselves up.
|Click images to enlarge|
This volume collects the first five issues of the series, each working as a stand-alone story showcasing one of the Steward's adventures. These include an epidemic in 2004 and conquistadors in 1517. My favorites are the lab in 2009 that accidentally creates a sentient being out of nanites and Mary Shelley's real inspiration for her classic novel, Frankenstein, in 1816. The former is the first time we see the Steward really struggle, as he's forced to repeat this day ten times before getting it right. The latter is just great horror, going into the creation of an actual undead man.
The Frankenstein monster from artist Chris Burnham is phenomenal. He's a massive creature, towering over Mary. The scene where he's awakened with a bolt of lightning is a sight to behold. Burnham captures the look of confusion and anger in its face as it struggles to figure out why it's alive and what to do next.
The artwork is inconsistent throughout Days Missing, as each chapter was made by a different creative team. The basic look of the Steward remains the same, but the change of style hurts the flow of the book. Granted, each one is a stand-alone story, so it works to an extent.
|Click images to enlarge|
While the concept and story is interesting, it's presented in a very text-book-like fashion. Each tale comes from the Steward's personal journals, chronicling his adjustments to time. He narrates a very long introduction to each to setup the characters, time frame, and reason for his involvement. Instead of being excited for what crazy event will destroy the human race, we get a history lesson from a tortured soul. The last chapter alludes to another force working against the Steward, which will hopefully make for a good conflict in future volumes. If the Steward is trying to save us, you can assume his opposite would be working to kill us. Unfortunately, that doesn't pop up until the very end, so we don't get to see how this will play out just yet.
Days Missing introduces a heady concept that is rife with possibilities. It falters a bit on the execution, although it seems to find its footing by the end. I just wish it did so earlier on. This is a solid sci-fi tale that is tailor made for fans of Star Trek. That should come as no surprise, as it was created in partnership with Roddenberry Productions.