by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson are back with another chapter in their creator own series, Ei8ht. Last issue, the story spent a bit more time establishing the multiple plot lines that exist in different eras. Utilizing the color scheme that is placed at the front of each issue, Albuquerque has created a pretty intriguing story that deals with time in such a way that readers are watching the past, present, and future transpire simultaneously. The fourth, and central environment exists outside of this time and it is here that things continue to get all the more interesting.
In issue three of Ei8ht, readers get to spend a bit more time in The Meld, with brief pieces of the other settings. Alburquerque uses Joshua’s memory loss for the sake of the story and it is a very helpful device in orienting readers to the universe that is being established in these issues. While Nila has recognized the tattoo on Joshua’s arm, her little brothers spends a few pages eavesdropping on The Tyrant and The Spear. One of the interesting elements in this series is the amount of vague language that is used. Albuquerque makes reference to a number of things in these first few issues, but withholds a good bit of information at the same time. The result of this tactic has created some strong intrigue, though some of it has become distracting in a way. Fortunately, as this third issue moves along, Albuquerque and Johnson begin to fill in some information as they continue to raise questions or drop hints. The balance is better here and it makes for a more effective issue.
The artistic decision to utilize coloring has made the use of space and the ability to transition at will much more flexible. That has worked significantly in the book’s favor as the story can utilize quick cuts to parallel events or themes without needing to establish anything about the setting. The most exciting element in this issue occurs as the story lines begin to overlap more frequently. As Joshua and Nila work their way into the city to seek out The Tyrant and The Spear, the story uses the colors and space to show glimpses of the past and future as well. Memories begin to flood back into Joshua as he reaches the tower and the suspense that Albuquerque and Johnson are able to capture as a result make the issue all the more effective. As the gaps begin to fill in, there are an equal number of curiosities regarding how the universe got to this point as there are about where it might be headed. Introducing the fluidity of time into the series such as the creators have allows for such a grand range of possibilities and directions for the book. That, alone, manifests a great deal of interest and investment in the story.
What works best within Ei8ht, though, is the voices that have been captured so early and effectively. The story is big and the ways in which it could go certainly have few limits. But the ability for the reader to invest in the characters is where a book finds its legs. Albuquerque and Johnson have been effective in that regard from the very beginning. In a stand out, but small moment, in this issue, Hari attempts to convince his older sister and Joshua to follow him, soon after revealing his mode of transport. This image and the quick banter to follow create an excellent little exchange. With a sense of their characters and the series will no doubt be enjoyable to follow no matter where the creators take it.