There’s something to be said for starting a story in the middle. When it’s done well you get caught up in the world you’re in and fly along with the story, too caught up in the action to focus on the questions you have. Pariah drops you right in the thick of things from the beginning, unfortunately it didn’t keep me moving fast enough to forget all the questions it evoked.
We are dropped on a failing space station and when I say failing I mean “falling to earth” failing. The temperature is rising as are the tempers. They realize this was the plan all along. To get them up in space on a decaying and aged station and then sabotage it so that it would burn up and burn everyone inside it as well. They appear to be a group of geniuses so they decide to try to alter their fate.
I had a lot of trouble with this story, mostly because I had no idea who these people were and why they were in this predicament. I won’t deny by the end the story had me engaged and I cared whether these people lived or died but for 2/3s of the issue I was far more lost in my questions than I was caught up in the story. I realize this was a web-comic and there are collections of it so perhaps the assumption is that most readers are already familiar with the universe and characters. However, I think if an issue has a number 1 on the cover it should be a jumping on point for anyone. This didn’t feel like one.
It’s well written and the art was good. I felt the claustrophobic atmosphere of the station in the panels as well as the desperation of the crew. The muted colors and tone contributed nicely to the setting.
I’m giving Pariah 2 out of 5 stars. I suspect if I were more familiar with the story I would have enjoyed it far more, but that in itself is its biggest flaw.
Writer: Aron Warner, Philip Gelatt
Artist: Brett Weldele
Cover Artist: Brett Weldele
Genre: Action/Adventure, Science-Fiction
Publication Date: February 26, 2014
Format: FC, 32 pages; Miniseries