The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is published by IDW Publishing, adapted by Ted Adams and Gabriel Rodriguez, with art also by Gabriel Rodriguez, colors by Nelson Daniels, and letters by Robbie Robbins. The issue is based on the original written work, of the same name, by H. G. Wells. When biologist Ellie Prendick washes ashore on a strange jungle island she is presented with a world she could never have believed possible.
The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 brings us to the titular island and introduces us to the main players and themes of the ongoing story. As Ellie Prendick learns more of the truths surrounding the island, including who it is that controls it, she finds herself dragged into something that would’ve been beyond the bounds of her imagination. And possibly of her nightmares.
The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 holds nothing back when looking at people and what they are capable of. Even our main protagonist Ellie is not spared under the magnifying glass and is shown to be more than flawed in her own way. We are given a look back at the events that lead to her arrival on the island and what they have to say about her. But equally important for her character is what she has to say about them. The comic’s visuals present her emotions wonderfully allowing the reader to understand what she is going through without an over-dependence on dialogue. This permits the reader to experience the moments that are presented to them, instead of having them feel dictated to them.
As The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 has us gain knowledge of the island and its inhabitants from Ellie’s perspective, her emotions are pushed front and center of our experience. From her initial confusion, to fear, and terror, everything is displayed for the reader to easily digest. Gabriel Rodriguez’s decision to frequently allow a single image to fully dominate the page truly forces the reader to experience all that is happening within it. The decision to fully highlight these particular moments greatly compliments the story. It helps pull us into The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 even as its truths begin to be revealed.
This all comes together in a final sequence that leaves the reader chilled and uncomfortable. The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 reveals the true nature of the island’s inhabitants to the reader and its impact is given the full weight the story demands. Ellie‘s panic and fear are handled excellently. Her responses to the revelations she is presented with seem genuine and authentic. Her confusion sends her stumbling through the end of the book and the reader is sent through this spiral of emotion with her. Unfortunately, however, this same confusion is often reflected in the one major stumbling block in The Island of Dr. Moreau #1. That of its image layouts.
Like I mentioned above, my only significant complaint about The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is in the layout of its panels. While I appreciate an artist’s willingness to move beyond the classic clean grid comic book format, several pages in this book forced me to reread them. Almost as if they were themselves a puzzle to be solved. While I ultimately got them all into the right sequence it did sour my experience a bit.
That having been said I feel, overall, that The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is an excellent beginning to this retelling of H. G. Wells’s classic work. I hope subsequent issues follow through and deliver the service the story deserves.
The Island of Dr. Moreau #1
I feel, overall, that The Island of Dr. Moreau #1 is an excellent beginning to this retelling of H. G. Wells’s classic work.