By Jeff Loveness, Juan Doe, and Rachel Deering
What if we find out that all this time we were not alone in the universe, but we are now. This is the premise of Jeff Loveness, Juan Doe, and Rachel Deering’s new book, World Reader. It follows an explorer, Sarah, as she travels from planet to planet using a special ability to connect with the dead to try and figure out what happened to once inhabited planets. Loveness’ story is about feeling alone even though we are surrounded by so many and reaching out to connect to others no matter how different we are because all spirits are essentially the same.
Loveness gives us a unique story that is part sci-fi, part spiritual, and all about life. It’s a story that everyone can immediately relate to because of how familiar the desire to connect is. The voice he gives Sarah’s inner monologue is simple, friendly, and caring; it is nothing like the high talking scientist that are usually portrayed as space explorers. This immediately gives us a connection to her and her desire to find other worlds to connect with. World Reader seems to be asking and answering this question both on a physical and spiritual level. Especially moving are the scenes where Sarah does make a connection and tries to comfort a lost soul. We experience through and with her the alien’s loss of their entire world. The writing moves at a quick pace and you are done with the issue before you know it. Included in the book is a look at the creation process from script to finished page. Check out Loveness’ descriptions for Doe to work from; they are great!
The artwork is impressive. All of the alien landscape is covered with interesting textures composed of Doe’s think contour lines. The use of these lines also gives lovely fluidity to the spiritual plane that Sarah explores. The style of the art seems to convey how Sarah is experiencing the universe from a slightly spiritual point of view both in and out of the metaphysical realm. At times, it’s a little on the trippy side and has some hints of a Kirby-esque style. This works especially well for the design of the antagonist: he looks like a nightmare. The spacesuits are nicely designed and are some of the most comfortable looking space suits you will come across. Deering uses a lot of soft pinks, especially when coloring Sarah, imbuing her further with a connection to the idea of love and harmony even though the landscapes look physically dead. As we get to the end of the issue we have moved into scary yellows and greens that mirror Sarah’s situation.
Overall, for a first issue, it is put together extremely well. Although the story centers around a lot of death, the spiritual side overcomes it with peace and harmony. Loveness treats us to a well thought out and planned world and situation. Deering’s color work on the issue stands out in particular and, along with the uniqueness of the story, World Reader is a must to pick up!