Written by Frank J. Barbiere
Illustrated by Christopher Peterson
Colours by Marissa Louis
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Published by BOOM! Studios
Broken World is another comic that falls under the ‘end of the world’ genre that seems to persist in relevancy even after the supposed ‘judgment day’ has already passed us back in 2012. Considering the beating down of the genre through mundane films, the comic sphere allows for a little more experimentation and an attempt at tackling some unique perspectives. Broken World accomplishes these things early on, traversing through the usual doomsday tropes, begging for more; especially after that final page.
Our main character, Elena Marlowe, is first seen retrieving a fake pass that will allow her access to the rockets that are bringing Earth’s ‘pure’ individuals to the arks that lie on the outskirts of Earth’s orbit. The undesirable individuals will remain on Earth and are deemed in this way according to their personal records. Oh, and an asteroid is en route to collide with Earth in about 48 hours. Elena takes her pass, produced from the warm orange glow within a man named Fletcher’s woodshop, and returns home to prepare for her, her son Danny, and husband Brian, to make the journey away from the impending danger.
A lot of mysteries present themselves in this first issue and really begs to wonder what writer Frank J. Barbiere and the collective creative team has in store for this four-issue mini-series. Elena obviously has something to hide from her past due to her retrieval of a fake ‘get out of dying’ card. Fletcher jokingly alludes to what it could be, claiming her vice in the form of jaywalking.
The topic of faith is constantly in connection with these kinds of scenarios and is brought up in the form of a group called ‘The Children of the Revelation.’ They, of course, claim the end is nigh through divine will and are interestingly supported by the government through a sanctioning of the groups suicide kits; just in case one wishes to punch fate in the face and seal their own. Their existence more or less lies in the background for now and will hopefully be focused upon more in the next issue. The separation of the faithful and the realist is always a topic of interest, especially when it comes to the tale that has been spun so far in Broken World.
Christopher Peterson’s strengths lies in the facial expressions of the characters met, focusing on the anxiety of the unknown through Elena’s eyes and agape jaw compared to the excitement and unaware innocence of Danny’s wide-eyed smirks. His shadowing and sense of texture also remain on faces as well as the tight handle and sense of fluid motion on especially Elena’s hair. There are a lot of great human moments that also breathe life into these well-drawn characters: such as the constant rustling of Danny’s hair or the way the many people grasp their face and neck, struggling to succumb to the stresses of the situation.
Marissa Louise’s colours add a rather warm feeling to the cold tones of the overall story with her shades of orange and pink lighting the interiors as well as the sky above. The bright appearance is actually a nice parallel considering the more often choice of darker tones within this genre of storytelling. There is also a gorgeous display of panel separation near the end, thrust from the tail of a rocket launch that is at the apex of the script’s tense buildup. It is very well deserving of a round of applause for Barbiere, Peterson, Louise and letterer Ed Dukeshire.
This creative team and book really know how to throw their metaphorical fishing pole into the reader pond, just daring for the bait to receive multiple bites. It is only hopeful at this point that once the hook has been brought back to the surface, the journey through Broken World will turn into a real catch.