In a future America that, due to a combination of environmental disasters and economic choices, is a walled-off wasteland run by regional militia and motorcycle gangs, a young woman named Del set out to try to help those in need. For her trouble, she got kidnapped and held for ransom. Thankfully for her, a mercenary named Fale has been dispatched to bring her home. But even if she can escape her captors, can she survive the trip home in Almighty #1 from Image Comics, writer/artist Edward Laroche, colorist Brad Simpson, and letterer Jaymes Reed?
We all know first issues are hard. Within that short span of pages, a creative team must find a way to hook an audience with their story, setting, and characters while keeping the pace flowing and the narrative clear. This struggle is even more significant when a story takes place in an all too familiar setting. Like, say, post-apocalyptic America. It’s such a familiar setting of lawlessness and chaos that a story has an extra hurdle to clear in the struggle to stand out. While Almighty #1 doesn’t completely deliver that stand-out element, I can see the real possibility that it could show up.
The first thing the book establishes well is the harsh nature of its world. The brief recap of how the world got from where we are currently to where it is, sets up the story’s grim landscape well and quickly, allowing the story to plunge right into its core narrative. From there, Laroche’s art does a great job of reinforcing the tired and brutal world the story occupies. Reinforced by Simpson’s colors, Almighty #1 perfectly establishes its tone. But while the world is presented with plenty of skill, it is the main duo in this book that has me hopeful for future installments.
From the opening pages of the book, when Fale first meets Del while rescuing her from her captors, Laroche does a fantastic job of subtly setting up the chemistry between the two. While Fale, at first glance, looks like nothing more than a brutal gun for hire, there are moments where she goes beyond what her job may require of her in how she treats Del. Offering aid unasked for, as well as showing a heightened level of concern for her, Fale gives signs that she is more than she appears to be.
If these early hints are followed up on, I can see the hard merc and the girl who only wanted to help potentially forming a deep bond on their trek to safety that could pull in many readers. All of these elements are strung together thanks to the clear and straightforward lettering by Reed. The story is always easy to follow, and the letters never get in the way of the book’s other visual elements.
So, while Almighty #1 doesn’t come out of the gate with something that instantly makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd in the highly saturated post-apocalypse genre, there is the groundwork for a story that has the potential to be as emotional as it looks to be brutal. As long as the creative team can pull it off.
Almighty #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
While Almighty #1 doesn’t come out of the gate with something that instantly makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd in the highly saturated post-apocalypse genre, there is the groundwork for a story that has the potential to be as emotional as it looks to be brutal. As long as the creative team can pull it off.