Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Graphic Novel: Low, Vol. 1 by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini *spoiler free*

Rating: 2/5
Categorization: Mature Graphic Novel, Tragic, Quest, Gangster drama
Length: 144 pages
Plans to continue the series: Probably not

What this graphic novel has to offer you:

Mature themes
Struggle for humanity
Life at the bottom of the ocean
Interesting technology
A family at the end of the world
Perseverance after tragedy
The issue of holding on to hope

The synopsis of the comic series Low, by Rick Remender is awesome!  It grabbed me instantly.  In this world our sun has entered its death period.  It has gone supernova, and as a result, has been dumping radiation onto the earth's surface.  Mankind cannot stay on Earth, but we've not found a way off the planet yet.  In the meanwhile, humans have left the surface world.  Buying humanity more time by taking refuge on the bottom of the ocean while they probe the universe for other blue planets near enough to escape to.  The only problem is that thousands of years have already passed, and mankind is not any closer to finding a new home.  The technology that brought man to the bottom of the ocean is failing, and pretty soon, everyone is going to die.

 Pretty colors...

The world in this comic felt very complete.  The back story and the characters were flushed out and brought to life quickly.  I was impressed by this, as I sometimes run into an issue with this in comics.  This graphic novel is full color, and the saturated hues really do give you the feeling that you are at the bottom of the ocean.  The seascapes and interiors are all slightly funky, offering the reader really cool images.  The story behind the writing and motivation for this comic also intrigued me.  The author says that he wrote this story during a period of his life when he was struggling with the concept of optimism.  I can definitely see where his head was at at the time via the larger themes running through the story.

Unfortunately, i ended up not enjoying this comic. 

In the story, those who are still alive to inhabit what is left of the under water worlds have slipped into a life of carnal pleasure an debauchery.  The masses are left uneducated and largely poor, but even those with wealth and influence will not long survive.  The life sustaining systems within the ocean domes have run their course and are failing.  Amid all of this hopelessness, our main character Stel, wife and mother of three, chooses to remain the eternal optimist.

Then shit goes terribly wrong for the entire comic.

Despite loving the themes and the synopsis, i did not enjoy where Remender took the story.  I did not vibe with the debauchery depicted.  It's not that I am terribly against mature themes in media, its that I found the use of mature themes in this case to be a distraction from and a barrier to the main character.  Horrible things happen to Stel and her family in this world, and yet she still has hope.  That's awesome!  But god did it make me not like her!  I really felt like she should have been rougher around the edges as the result of her experiences.  Had I been put in the situation which Stel is in, I would not want to save humanity like she did.  Instead, I would want to run far away from it and try to forage on my own.

This graphic novel is reminiscent of a gangster drama.  And personally, gangster dramas are not normally my cup of tea.  However, if you enjoy them, you'll probably enjoy this as well. 

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads:

Final thoughts?  I feel like this comic series would be perfect for the individual who likes both Breaking Bad and old fashion sci fi.

Thanks for reading!
An indifferent Manda