Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender, Illustrated by: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 2015 (This is for the collected volumes. The individual volumes were released at an earlier date.)
Thank you to Image Comics and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC copy. Receiving an ARC has not influenced this review in anyway.
Synopsis: Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth’s surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun’s scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope.
Comments: There are two things I must really like about graphic novels, manga, and comic books… is the art and story line (premise). The most important being the art. This may be a bit unfair to many of you reading this and to the writers. But I will keep repeating this, just to serve as a disclaimer. Art is a very subjective thing. Unlike reading a book, where each reader can imagine something different – visual novels places a limiter on readers in the sense of character design and setting and even tone. I was hesitant with this one because the cover I wasn’t so keen on. The cover felt more sketchy – less detailed and more of a focus on color tones to evoke distance… but the art inside was more detailed and distinguished. Surprisingly, it worked within the pages. I liked the art.
With the first and most important hurdle over with, we can move onto the plot. The graphic novels starts out with a couple, naked, just after attempting to bake a bun in the oven – if you get my drift. While I don’t get twisted underwear from these kinds of things… I felt rather questioning about that opening sequence. It’s relevance? But it wasn’t bad… so I just moved along. This was an interesting graphic novel, both in premise and the delivery of this portrayal. I loved the premise and would hopefully see the outer world and beyond in later volumes. The story (plot) was complex and the unraveling, revealing of the world to readers (me) was not overwhelming and also understandable (I was able to understand the plight of the world and what has now become human society).
Though as I was reading… I just felt disjointed and couldn’t pin point the reason. I think it’s due a lack of emotional connection to the characters. Lots of things happen within that first part. People dying and some being taken away… all seemingly important characters or characters important to the protagonist… but I felt nothing with these scenes. I felt detached. So while I enjoyed the premise… I couldn’t completely enjoy the story. A small sense kept nagging me at the back of my mind. It may have been my mood at the time but I was not upset or forcing myself to read. Marik was the closest character I’ve come to sympathize with, as his actions showed his personality and guilt well, but his actions were selfish and not good, so thus while I sympathized with him… I didn’t quite like him. Stel just seemed too robotic overall… maybe because of the ingrained message of “There is always hope,” which Stel is constantly spouting, making her a bit inhuman. Something bad happens: “There is always hope.” Your kid murders people: “There is always hope.” Your family gets killed and stolen: “There is always hope.” “There is always hope.” “There is always hope.” “There is always hope,” thus you don’t ever need to show your OTHER human emotions. I guess this really was the only thing that bothered me. It wasn’t enough for me to dislike the story but enough for me to not completely love this book.
Of course, I don’t expect a complete reveal of character personality… but a hint there or there… or crack here or there…with more frequency would have been nice. Though now that I write this and think… there were those moments… so then in conclusion, I think it is the overwhelming, knock you over the head message of: “There is always hope” that detracted the story for me.
Overall, I liked the story and the art. I enjoyed reading the book. Interesting premise and story line. I just wanted less of a didactic theme of hope.
Content Warnings (As graphic novels are visual and people tend to get easily offended by visual things):
Nudity, Violence, Portrayal of Adult Physical Situations and Themes