By Jay Faerber, Sumeyye Kesgin & Ron Riley
Elsewhere is another new fantasy-based comic from Image. On the surface, it has an intriguing premise: ace pilot Amelia Earhart didn’t just disappear in 1937, she was transported to an entirely different world or dimension, the exact location has yet to be unveiled. She soon finds out that this strange land is ruled over by a tyrant, Lord Kragen. She enlists the aid of two escaped prisoners from the fortress of the fearsome leader to find her navigator, Fred Noonan. From there, the journey begins.
This comic may have a solid premise, but it quickly becomes derivative. Another title that quickly comes to mind is another recent Image title, Reborn, from Mark Millar and Greg Capullo. A woman passes away, is transported to a fantasy-esque realm where a dark overlord rules, sound familiar? Also, this location has floating land masses, not unlike what is being seen in Extremity, another Image comic currently being published. Amidst all this, Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin do a decent job of establishing this “new” world, not bogging the comic down in exposition. They keep the plot going at brisk pace and it really is thanks to them framing the narrative with a prison escape, expediency is inherent in this type of situation. One key flaw is that the book doesn’t necessarily provoke investment in Amelia’s situation or her rescue mission. Sure, she’s a bright, tough woman, but no real depth or passion is really conveyed through her dialog. Again, this is the first issue, so some leeway may be given, but writer Jay Faerber could have dug a little deeper with the aviator.
Sumeyye Kesgin and Ron Riley present solid artwork that don’t necessarily have any flaws, but it lacks distinction. It’s just too clean, no real detail to the pencils or inking. Even the sweeping panels introducing this strange, new land, if one looks close enough, will show that it’s all just basic outlines and a few minor details. This shallowness is actually hidden well by the color work of Riley. He does a fine job of creating depth with his color grading. One can see the layers being placed on characters well when set against the night. The use of silhouettes also helps draw attention away from flaws and delivers some interesting images. One particular thing that stuck out was a Kragen’s character design. Is there a rule somewhere that states that villainous rulers in fantasy stories have to have massive horns? We saw it in the film Legend, most recently in Reborn and now Elsewhere. Kesgin could have been subversive with the character, instead audiences are given what is clearly now a cliché.
Unfortunately, there just isn’t much to write home about with this title. It is entertaining, but if this issue is any indication of how the story will be handled, then it may not be worth investing time in. Readers who love fantasy comics and don’t mind some of the uninventive elements should check it out and support it. Otherwise, look elsewhere for a comic based in this sub-genre.