Age of Apocalypse #1
Written by: David Lapham
Art by: Roberto de la Torre
Published by: Marvel Comics
If your biggest complaint about superhero comics is that they’re too bright, this comic’s for you.
Lapham takes the twisted version of Marvel’s X-universe and straight from the offset begins world building, letting you know that there’s going to be a lot going on in this series, a whole load of themes and threads are going to play out and converge than he establishes his cast of characters and in a twist from the norm has you wondering who you’re meant to be rooting for, and questioning the motives of everyone!
The biggest challenge of this comic was going to be the word building and making new and exciting twists, so many off the characters in this comic are familiar or based off ‘616’ continuity but this is a dark and twisted version of the Marvel Universe we know and love so Lapham gives us a reference point through the narrative that helps continue the story and links it to ‘616’ and pre-established continuity.
Helping this comparative visually is de la Torre’s art and it is sublime! Like Alex Maleev or Michael Lark, de la Torre has a strong pencil style with heavy use of shading and grittiness to emphasise the dark and dystopic nature of this universe. His action shots are dynamic and brimming with energy and stop this dialogue heavy issue from getting too heavy or tiring from page to page.
His panelling work is beautiful and draws the eye easily, even when he transitions from the darker street corners of this universe to the high up and brightly lit Hellfire Club (yes, this world has a twisted version of the already pretty twisted Hellfire Club!!).
Helping these transitions is the noteworthy colour palette of Lee Loughridge, who emphasises the tones set and laid out by Lapham’s script and de la Torre’s art quite beautifully. His colour palette is rich and looks almost stone washed and emphasises the themes that Lapham is subtly trying to put forward.
Overall, this comic is a dark and gritty story of a dystopic version of the Marvel universe and Lapham looks to world build and bring in other Marvel characters (this issue has a certain swash-buckling blind hero in a new role too). I think Lapham has a long and epic journey in mind and our new characters, regardless of their questionable motivations, have a new, long and exciting journey ahead and I’m definitely along for the ride.