By Phillip Gelatt, Brett Weldele & Aron Warner
Pariah started off as a webcomic, created initially by Aron Warner, but has since been adapted into a print and digital mini-series by Phillip Gelatt (The Surrogates) and Brett Weldele (Petrograd) – this book tells the story of Vitros, genetically engineered geniuses, who are trapped in space – and must get back to the planet before their satellite becomes a death trap. What will have many fans itching to pick this book up if they haven’t heard of it already will be its similar setting to 2013’s Gravity – but there is enough difference in here to make it stand out as its own book that offers a pleasant surprise in just how good it is – serving as a strong opening issue that acts as the first part in a eight issue mini-series from Dark Horse Comics. Whilst you can’t judge a series based on its first issue alone Pariah has enough sticking power to potentially become a regular fixture on reader’s monthly pulls – and it’ll be certainly interesting to see whether the strong momentum started here can last the full run.
If you’ve been reading a vast amount of superhero comics week after week and want a break, then you’ve come to the right place. There’s not a superhero in sight and Pariah #1 draws readers in and begs for more – Phillip Gelatt handles Aron Warner’s creation pretty well (even though I have sadly not had a chance to read the original) – and will most likely inspire readers to check it out especially if it escaped their notice beforehand.
The book itself doesn’t suffer from most troubles that first issues have, and throws us straight into the thick of the action – Hermane Toulane is a Vitros – who has given himself voluntarily, and ends up working on a space station, with his new family being just as bad as his old one, which was the main reason for his departure. Toulane however is the only character that really gets fleshed out enough to any real depth in this opening first issue, the others don’t get much development. But then again, there are seven more issues left in this series to flesh out the characters – and it’ll be interesting to see how things are explored as from where it stands the book is proving to be a pretty interesting read – and will certainly convince those willing to give it a try in order to stick with it for future issues.
The artwork is fairly solid. It’s not outstanding but neither is it a complete success. The characters aren’t as good as they could be – with a few facial expressions not quite spot on, but the setting for the most part is amazing – Brett Weldele really gets outer space and spaceship interiors. You really get a feel for the claustrophobic atmosphere – and it really pays off when working in tangent with the script. Weldede is also the colourist for this project, and his colours really enhance the script. He pretty much does everything that’s not covered by either Gelatt or Warner – including the letters, and it helps a lot to have a small creative team allowing for a much more focused work. It’s a decision that pays off here – and the end result is an incredibly good start.
The easiest comparison to make with Pariah to at the moment is Gravity – and if you loved that movie then you’ll find something to enjoy here. Despite its flaws, this first issue is an incredibly strong start to what should be a great new series, and it’ll be very interesting to see where things go from here. Things can only get better.