Writers: Andrew Cosby, Michael A. Nelson
Artist: Greg Scott
Publisher: Boom! Studios
X Isle kicks off on familiar ground. Think: The Lost World meets Gilligan’s Island. An unusual creature washes up on a Maui beach shore, leading a science crew to form an expedition and head out to sea. The crew gets lost, the boat sinks, the crew washes ashore a mysterious island and hilarity ensues. Actually, swap “hilarity” for “horror” and you get the picture.
It’s hard to be sufficiently creeped out when the story follows such familiar ground. Fortunately, little twists like the cause of the ship’s sinking and the means by which some of the members show up on the island is a bit inspired, and the unusual creatures, while a little familiar in design, are a unique focus for the story. Still, the plot doesn’t get far enough to break away from the norm, but that’s what you get with introductions.
Speaking of introductions, this first issue provides face time with a substantial number of cast members. Not all have well-defined personalities, but quite a few are developed in such a short amount of space, which is encouraging. The lead scientist is quite driven by his findings, his relationship with his daughter adds a lot of energy to the script, and the ship crew members are rather unique. However, a bit of the dialogue doesn’t go anywhere, such as the cast’s indifferent reaction to finding out another of their number had survived the ship sinking, and some is downright awkward, such as when racial remarks come out of nowhere to drive up the tension. Worse still, there are a few key scenes that should inspire dread in the reader that are instead ruined by the characters’ glib Hollywood-script-style one-liners. “I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry.” It’s so cliché that it doesn’t work anymore in any context, especially this one.
Greg Scott’s art strengthens the book overall. It adds a photo-realistic touch without coming off as stiff or mechanical. The characters’ expressions highlight the mood and tone of their dialogue and probably do more work to boost the story’s momentum than the script. The scenes of the boat’s destruction are particularly haunting and dynamic.
X Isle is off to a decent start that needs another chapter before we can get a feel of what this story’s going to be about. It’s not a vacuous first issue, but it’s difficult to make any predictions about the series without a bit more content to go on.
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