Through the act of exploration, human beings have proven time and time again that we are the only lifeforms on this planet that experience both the desire and the need to expand the boundaries of the world we were born into. Although we were not born in the ocean, we have built great ships that have aided us in spanning its lengths and plumbing its depths. Humankind was not gifted with the wings of a bird, nonetheless, we have mastered flight by inventing crafts suited to the task. And although outer space does not have an atmosphere that can sustain Life, regardless, humankind has risked Death to venture forth and even to land on the surface of our planet’s own Moon. The only boundaries we haven’t breached are those defined by other dimensions. We live in a three-dimensional world of physical space and we pass through the dimension of Time (albeit in a linear capacity). However, we have not transcended our known Universe. We’ve tried to explore these alien landscapes through the use of theories scrawled along MIT’s chalkboards. Yet we seem, as a society, too limited in our level of applied sciences to take the needed step towards true understanding of our world’s “inner space”.
Ironically, it is the two-dimensional world of the comic book that acts as a gateway to these new realms and with Dark Horse Comics’ release of the first issue of their newest mini-series, Blackout, artistic imagination allows us, if not a ship, an observation deck to delve into this “great beyond”.
Blackout is the story of (scientist?) Scott Travers, who uses a mysterious high-tech suit to slip in-between our world and a parallel dimension. The origins of this suit are unknown to Travers as well as who sent it to him. Travers uses the suit to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his lab’s project head Bob (who went missing during an incident in their lab). All the while, mysterious government forces align to steal the suit for its own uses.
I wish I could have written a more comprehensive summary of the storyline, but as readers we’re thrown in the middle of the narrative. Everything about the main characters is told through flashback sequences and events referred to are out of context. There is no linear strand to follow and the hodgepodge of events and informally introduced characters in the story make it confusing for the reader to figure out what’s going on. The summary blurb on the credits page at the beginning of the book did a better job of explaining the story to me than the actual issue. That is why I had trouble identifying Traver’s main occupation, the “villains”, Traver’s relationship to the lab and his “mentor”, Bob.
As for the artwork, although professionally rendered by artist Colin Lorimer, I felt the style was all wrong for this book. Lorimer has a style that is a combination of Bryan Hitch and Alex Maleev, but the man could have embraced his “inner Jim Steranko”. He depicts the parallel dimension in faded colors and different perspective shots. A dash of surrealism would have been what this book needed. Lorimer depicted more of a “parallel closet” than a world. Think Steranko or, better yet, Steve Ditko (especially his run in the early 60’s illustrating Dr. Strange).
I had high hopes for this book and wished for more of a Buckaroo Banzai feel, but alas, I can only give this one 2.5 out of 5.
Blackout #1 (of 4)
Writer: Barbiere, Frank
Artist: Lorimer, Colin
Cover Artist: Kaneshiro, Micah
On Sale: March 26, 2014
Publisher: Dark Horse
Diamond Id: JAN140143
Format: LIMITED SERIES