by Alex Paknadel & Eric Scott Pfeiffer
In the future an epidemic strikes the Earth that wipes out about 99% of the world’s population. In an effort to save and preserve humanity, four million people’s consciousness are uploaded to a cloud server that houses a virtual world called Arcadia. Now Arcadia has been using a massive amount of energy that is effecting the few people left in the physical real world. These people in physical bodies, called “the meat”, have to decide how to save the people in both Arcadia and the real world without having to sacrifice one for the other.
Most people have noticed by now that BOOM! Studios has been on a roll when it comes to debuting great new creator-owned series. They have also been more focused on giving new creators a space to get their stories out to readers. Arcadia is a prime example of both those statements in action. This being many readers’ first exposure to Alex Paknadel and they will be in for a pleasant surprise. Paknadel jumps right into Arcadia without too much preface. This can make this first issue seem slightly confusing since Paknadel jumps back and forth between the real world and Arcadia. However, by the time you get to the end of the issue you feel settled into the story and want to read more. Paknadel knows you don’t need to cram information into readers heads in the first issue. By the end, readers feel like they scratched the surface of a bigger story and are curious to delve deeper into Arcadia.
The art in Arcadia by Eric Scott Pfeiffer was another big surprise from this issue. Pfeiffer’s style has a messy and rough quality that is reminiscent of Sean Murphy’s work. However, Pfeiffer definitely has his own look to both his art and paneling. Pfeiffer’s work really stands out in how he tells Arcadia‘s story from panel to panel. So many characters and location jumps in this first issue could have been disastrous to depict in a debut while attracting readers into Arcadia, however Pfeiffer pulls it off while giving the different areas of Arcadia their own unique look and still being able to capture the desolate tone of dystopian real world “the meat” are stuck with. Pfeiffer also handles the colors in Arcadia, which are also an immense help in giving each location its own style.
There was a lot going on in Arcadia‘s first issue, but it never bogs down the reading experience. With comics being so popular and accessible now, the one hard thing to find is a fresh idea. Arcadia feels like a concept that isn’t used too often and these creators found a really interesting way to spin it. When you read comics for a while you realize one should never judge a series by its first issue. Sometimes when you are reading issues monthly you lose track of the big picture, which is the story. Arcadia feels like one of those series that will grow with each issue and will work even better when read in large chunks.