Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Phil Hester
Colours: Mark Englert
Release Date: October 5th, 2016
Dead? Alive? Purgatory/limbo? Shipwreck is a new enigmatic story releasing out of AfterShock Comics that takes place in a mysterious setting which the main character & readers discover is an existence stemming from the fallout of the main character’s supposed crashed/sunken ship. The story follows the main character on an endless road tracking down his ships saboteur who is the key to what happened during the tragedy and will hold the answers that the main character is searching for.
AfterShock (new to the publishing game as of April 2015) has found recent success with their recent release of ‘Animosity‘, a story in which animals & pets around the world gain heightened sentience to the point where they become the masters and the humans become their lesser. AfterShock Comics was originated when an editor for one of the major comics publishing companies (Mike Marts & Joe Pruett) felt like he wanted to provide a place with creative freedoms for creators to put out their stories rather than having to be stuck working for one of the big two and having to follow strict rules & guidelines. AfterShock has published quite a few unique titles since launching their company and while most are unique none have caught fire quite like Animosity. Shipwreck could very well be the next title under AfterShock to be set ablaze!
Shipwreck stands out on the shelf with the great quality paper used in the book as well as the cover being printed on high quality gloss cover paper. The main cover is done by writer Phil Hester and presents an attractive first glance at the book. The colours stand out with great contrast not only throughout the book but clearly showcased on the cover with the deep blues surrounding a sharp warm orange in the center and a universe-looking background.
The story begins with a very enigmatic scene we see from the perspective of a man sinking into the ocean with a bunch of birds flocking around above him. One with an eyeball in beak! This leads us to the main character, Dr.Johnathan Shipwright, where he wakes up on an endless road in the middle of nowhere where he begins walking down this endless road. This road leads the main character to an abandoned diner where he is greeted by a man with files and information on the main character and the disaster that he encountered, exclaiming that he could not possibly be the man in his Polaroid pictures as that man had died in the disaster. The main character grows upset and goes into the kitchen where he is greeted by a mysterious lady preparing and cooking human body parts.
When the lady in the kitchen tries to attack Dr.Shipwright he quickly grabs the broom that was keeping the door shut and tried to hit the lady and knock over her kitchen gear from the table. This causes the lady to trip and fall onto a metal spike effectively killing her there in the kitchen. Traumatized, Dr.Shipwright leaves the diner discovering the man he was talking to earlier left him a note mentioning a mission for the main character to be set on. He then leaves the diner and heads back down the endless road.
Warren Ellis has proven himself as a fantastic writer and with him working on this project of passion under AfterShock it feels as if Warren Ellis has everything under control and is slowly giving us bit by bit of this highly enigmatic story. I for one love the art so much that I am curious to see where this book goes and want to discover the mystery behind Shipwreck. Phil Hester‘s art on this book is top notch with great inking. He does great work with page parallels and centering, all while hitting every story beat with great panel work and highly detailed pages. Often times you feel as if you are in a nightmare when the art features more and more hidden spiders for no reason as the pages go on for example. He is producing pages comparable to Francesco Francavilla with his own style, aided only by the great contrasting colours of Mark Englert. Englert makes great bold colour choices that makes this book very attractive.
While the story may not have revealed too much, or quite thrown out an effective hook for its first issue, this book certainly has a mystery element to it that scratches our itch to figure out the mystery at hand. The art sold me to the point where I will be reading this book month to month. I follow Phil Hester and his creator owned projects, most noteably with his recent work on his Image Comics book ‘Mythic‘ and he seems to be on a roll producing top quality works. The art and colours remind me very much of ‘Outcast’ or ‘Moonshine’, another Image comic #1 released the same week as Shipwreck and I love to just stare for minutes at a time at the ink work in this book. This book may or may not be for you, but I think we will all see a solid hook in the issues to come. I would rate this book a 7/10 and recommend you all to give Shipwreck a read while you can still get your hands on it because its selling fast!
~ T.J Head