Friday, June 3, 2011
I never spent a lot of time as a kid reading comic books. I was too preoccupied by Star Wars to get excited about superheroes. There was a stint ten years ago when I really got into one series, The Maxx, but I didn't diversify and explore what else the medium had to offer. Until now.
I found the first issue of Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov online. I was drawn in by the cover, but by the time I finished reading it, I couldn't wait to run out and buy a copy. It was so good, it blew my mind. Each Wednesday the issues were released, I ended up at the local comic shop to grab a copy, and hurried back home to read the next installment. My hats off to Top Cow Productions for putting out such an amazing creator owned comic.
The story is amazingly well crafted, and the black and white art by Rahsan Ekedal, fits the emotional core of the story exquisitely. When the main character is lost or confused, his face and world visually echo his inner turmoil. I had always thought that you needed color to best convey a story in comic form, but this series proves that color is not king.
Echoes is a limited series (and I say that sadly hoping for a 2nd arc) that has so many twists and turns, that it kept this reader on edge wondering what the hell happens next. The ending is ballsy and killer, and It's hard to believe he pulled off such an amazing story without someone saying, "We need a more feel good ending" interfering and ruining the dynamic of the whole series.
I'll give a brief setup of how Echoes begins:
Brian Cohn's father is in the hospital dying of Alzheimer's. His last words to Brian are an admission to killing a bunch of girls. There's an address given and he mentions a box in a crawlspace under the stairs he wants Brian to find. He then dies.
Thrown for a loop, Brian goes in search of this box. Once in the house, an alarm on his watch goes off, he needs to take his pills. Brian shares the same mental illness as his father, schizophrenia. Without the pills he begins to get paranoid, and if he goes long enough before taking them he could begin to hallucinate. He makes his way under the house, where he finds the box and opens it. Inside are hundreds of dolls with little notes in their hands. Each one has the name of the girl killed, birth and death date, and have been made from the skin, flesh, and bones of the girls.
Brian is shocked and confused, suddenly afraid that the schizophrenia is not the only thing he shares with his father. Is there a killer lurking inside of him too? He tries to put it out of his mind, but a little girl he's seen at a playground goes missing, then a detective shows up at his house asking questions, and a doll made from the missing girl is mailed to him. Brian either has to unravel the mystery and discover what's going on or face up to what he's becoming.
The brilliant thing about the story, is that the more confused Brian gets, the more he loses grasp of what is real and what's a hallucination. He's the ultimate unreliable narrator, and we see everything through his muddled perspective. The series is dark and twisted, and we the reader, just like Brian, have to figure out what's real and what's imagined. By the last page, I too questioned whether the ending was real or a figment of Brian's imagination. I wasn't frustrated in the least, instead it pushed me to give the series another read.
I can't wait to see what these guys do together next.
You can find Joshua Hale Fialkov at www.thefialkov.com/
and artist Rahsan Ekedal at http://www.rahsanekedal.com/
Order the Hardcover of Echoes packed with extras and goodies here: