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Horizon #1 Review

Horizon #1 Review

  • Writer: Brandon Thomas
  • Artist: Juan Gedeon
  • Colorist: Frank Martin
  • Letterer: Rus Wooton
  • Cover: Jason Howard
  • Publisher: Image Comics

Horizon #1 is proof that you can do all the things that I find annoying in comics and still come up with something strong and compelling. I give a lot of grief to many series about tropes that pop up all the time, but there is always a way to do it well.

Specifically, Horizon spends most of the issue being coy about what Zhai, our main character, is really doing. We see her come to Earth, with what feels like a standard opening for an alien infiltration of Earth. It feels like that for most of the issue, and pulls an ending splash page that flips your understanding of the book upside down. This is usually where I find myself complaining about the story dragging to fill out the whole issue before the reveal, but that isn't really the case here.

There is also a letter from the author at the end, which is usually where they explain the story with far more clarity than we actually got from the story itself. While that is here and does give a slightly better explanation of the premise than the comic itself, I didn't come out of it screawing at the writer, like I normally do.

What makes this work is that Horizon is genuinely compelling up to this point. It's all carried by the little things you might not notice as much. Zhai's design is strong, despite at first appearing to be just another blue alien woman. There is a weird level of detail, where her natural form seems to be missing features, while at the same time looking completely normal when shifting into a human form. These small differences make her feel different than what I would expect her to be like.

Then there's my favorite scene, though I have trouble explaining why it worked so well. She is sitting in a motel room, preparing for her mission, which includes replacing the faulty transmission chip in her brain. She has the nows on in the background, but instead of being complete gibberish, it's an actual news report with the words jumbled. Noticing that it wasn't just gibberish just made something click in my head, and drew me fully into the world, which I felt somewhat mixed on before.

It's always the little things, and I know it seems strange that it was these little things. Those are the kind of details that I noticed throughout the book, which make the world feel real, but not like the creators trying to show off how smart they are. Instead, they all add up to a comic that I quite enjoyed, to the point that I'm looking forward to the next one.

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