A comiXologist Recommends:
Harris Smith recommends Low #1
The best science fiction is a measured balance of concept and idea. The concept is the hook, it draws the reader in with its inventiveness. The idea is what gives a good science fiction story resonance. Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run and X-Men all have great sci-fi concepts: a future where apes have evolved beyond humans, a futuristic society that kills off anyone over the age of 30, a group of teenagers born with metahuman abilities. No doubt these clever stories are what initially drew readers and viewers in, but these three concepts have strong ideas behind them that have continued to reverberate with readers for decades: a treatise on evolution and man’s inhumanity to man, an indictment of youth-obsessed culture, an allegory for racial prejudice.
Rick Remender's new comic, Low, has both concept and idea. The concept is overflowing with imagination (would we expect anything less from the creator of Franke-Castle?): in the future, an expanding sun has doomed the human race and driven them underwater, where they live in an encapsulated city besieged by “Road Warrior”-esque pirates and scavengers. The idea, meanwhile, is universal- how do we find hope in the face of the inevitability of death, in this case the knowledge that the sun will soon engulf the Earth? Remender sets this heady existential question, one that’s plagued philosophers from Kirkegaard to Ernest Becker, within an exciting, colorful universe, a world replete with majestic fantasy landscapes and riotous underwater battle sequences. It’s a perfect blend of concept and idea tied together with the vision of a true artist and highlighted with masterfully evocative artwork by Greg Tocchini. High-minded ideas and aristry aside, Remender really knows how to tell a story and this first issue left me genuinely excited, maybe even a little anxious, to find out what happens next.
Harris Smith is a Brooklyn-based comics and media professional. In addition to his role as a Senior Production Coordinator at comiXology, he edits several comics anthologies, including Jeans and Felony Comics, under the banner of Negative Pleasure Publications. He’s also the host of the weekly radio show Neagtive Pleasure on Newtown Radio.