By Matt Hawkins & Linda Sejic
New series from Top Cow Productions, Wildfire, starts up this month with the first installment. Despite being a big fan of Matt Hawkins’ work, this one was a bit of a disappointment.
The book opens with a single page offering quotes regarding major pros and cons of genetically modified foods. Ok, so we can see where this one is going right from the start. An individual two-page spread shows Los Angeles in flames before jumping back in time by three days to start at the beginning. This series is about…genetically modified foods. That’s about it so far. To be fair, this was a first issue, but there wasn’t really anything to pique readers’ interest until maybe the end. However, the writing was fairly dry and often felt stiff in terms of execution. The story itself was a bore, until things kind of got relatively more interesting at the end of the book. Most of this issue just felt overly procedural and sometimes not entirely necessary to the overall plot. Matt Hawkins has written some incredible comic books, but Wildfire #1 just didn’t do it.
Linda Sejic provides the artwork on this one, and this was definitely the high-point for the book. Linda is presumably somehow linked to the phenomenal Stjepan Sejic, and it shows. This is, of course, a very good thing. The visuals were markedly similar to some of Stjepan’s work, but still retained their own unique flair. There is a ton of detail in every panel, and the overall design just has a really enjoyable look. There is a lot of depth throughout, and the colors add a subtle “painted” sensibility to the book. Stjepan-similarities aside, Linda Sejic’s work is quite unlike anything else out there, and the wonderful combination of realism and cartoon was executed perfectly.
Overall, it just didn’t feel like there was anything to get very excited about after reading this first installment. Yes, the story has just started, but the hook was missing. An overabundance of dandelions is hardly an interesting preliminary conflict, and this was apparently meant to be the height of the book. The plot just felt bland throughout, which was in stark contrast to the wonderful visuals. It is highly likely this series could get a lot better given the creators working on this one, but for now, it is difficult to recommend.