by Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro & Michael Garland
In the future, Earth has come up with a new clause for prisoners serving life sentences. Instead of spending the rest of your life in prison, you can enlist to defend Earth’s colonies in the far reaches of space and be free in fifteen years. On the distant planet of Midlothian, the space marines are fighting with an alien race called Pagurani, over control of the planet’s assets. Cluster follows a particular group of new convicts on their first mission, and it could possibly be their last.
Cluster‘s debut issue opens with a crash and a woman named Samara being arrested for driving under the influence. Using Samara’s entrance into the prison system was an excellent way to set up the setting in which Cluster takes place. Ed Brisson used this method perfectly which enabled him to set a story and do some world building at the same time. This made for an incredibly easy read and didn’t feel like a forced history lesson. Without spoiling anything, Brisson does a great job to set up the world of Cluster in this first issue and with a twist laid out in the plot at the very end of the issue. After Brisson has readers comfortable with the world in Cluster, it almost catches you off-guard once you read the last panel.
Cluster‘s art looks absolutely stunning. Damian Couceiro’s art does a great job of capturing the otherworldly sci-fi vibe of Cluster‘s story. Coucerio also reflects a pulp style in Cluster‘s art that also enhances the prison drama scenario. One standout page appears at the beginning when Samara wakes up in the street after the crash and shows the world through sideways panels to reflect her view from the ground. Michael Garland is becoming one of my favorite colorists working right now. He has the ability to use a palette that not only captures the mood of the book, but really complements the inking style of the artist on the book. Both Garland and Coucerio match Brisson’s well written issue in terms of capturing and reflecting the atmosphere of Cluster.
This was a fantastic first issue that read smoothly. It can be hard to ride that line of putting way too much information into a debut issue. However, Cluster was able to do it in a practical way that didn’t feel like a chore, but just a well crafted issue. Cluster does have some familiar elements, but the way they are presented feels fresh. Cluster is a series that has an amazing creative team of artists that have been around and are finally flourishing and you see it reflected on the pages of Cluster‘s debut. Cluster is a series that sci-fi fans need to be following.