REVIEW: ‘Above Snakes,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Above Snakes #1

From the team behind Thumbs and The Few comes a new tale of vengeance set in a Deadwood-style Western with just the right amount of absurdity and humor. Above Snakes #1 is written by Sean Lewis and published by Image Comics with art and colors by Hayden Sherman and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

Chapter One, “Speck of Dirt,” is the perfect title for issue one because it introduces its two main characters: Dirt and Speck. Dirt is a man seeking vengeance for the murder of his wife and children, while Speck is Dirt’s persistent companion, a vulture who only he can hear and see. With Speck acting somewhat like a moral compass, he challenges Dirt to help people, and it seems like it’ll lead Dirt one step closer to his retribution.

It’s hard not to compare Above Snakes to Thumbs and The Few due to their similar art styles and how they handle their different themes. For example, Thumbs’ themes were challenging because of their sincerity and realness; they were easy to relate to. And it’s looking like we’ll see the same from Above Snakes. Already, we see the madness of revenge; the blood runners are all looking for the people who’ve killed their families, yet few have found peace or vengeance. Dirt is on the same well-trodden path, and he knows it yet doesn’t seem to want to avert his journey. If Above Snakes doesn’t tiptoe around its themes of rage and vengeance, Dirt’s journey will be a great but poignant one to follow.

Above Snakes #1 is an easy read, and it’s mostly because Dirt and his feathered friend are just the right amounts of ridiculous and warmhearted to be an easy favorite. Even with this issue’s brevity at just 19 pages, there’s a good twist by the end, and the issue does its chore well—introducing our characters and getting the plot rolling.

The art looks simplistic at first (not that there’s anything wrong with simplicity). But the way the lines come together, overdrawn in some areas with gaps in others, and how colors often escape their bounds creates a grungy feeling that emulates the Western background and the story well. Simultaneously, there are some really aesthetic pages, like the large panels where the sky is banded with pinks and purples at dusk, stark against the orange of a campfire. Add on the particular shade of pink used in action-heavy panels, quickly drawing your eye to the violence, and you can’t help but acknowledge the skillful use of color throughout Above Snakes #1.

The lettering, especially the SFX, stands out starkly, with so much color encapsulating the pages. Because of Dirt’s narration, Otsmane-Elhaou’s use of different speech bubbles to separate speech, especially Speck’s constant snark with narration, is crucial to the flow. And the various stylings add tone and so much depth to the dialogue.

Overall, Above Snakes #1 is an excellent beginning to this new series, infusing just the right amount of absurdity and humor into its thematic exploration of vengeance. If you’re a fan of Thumbs or The Few, you’ll enjoy Above Snakes for the very same reasons.

Above Snakes #1 is available July 13th wherever comics are sold.


Above Snakes #1
4.5

TL;DR

Above Snakes #1 is an excellent beginning to this new series, infusing just the right amount of absurdity and humor into its thematic exploration of vengeance.

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