As humanity pushes itself out the great unknown of deep space we ponder one of the great questions of existence.

Are we alone in the universe?

World Reader Cover

World Reader Issue 1 from Aftershock Comics

Writer: Jeff Loveness

Artists: Juan Doe

Science Fiction and Supernatural stories are strange bedfellows in the world of genre fiction.

Of course there are the iconic surrealist segments of 2001: A Space Odyssey but typically a mash up of these genres results in substandard slasher movie sequels like Jason X or Hellraiser: Bloodline.

Comics fair a little better with recent books like Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Sci-Fi Eldritch Horror Nameless or Ryan North’s all ages strange Sci-Fi adventure the Midas Flesh.

Thankfully the stunning debut issue of World Reader from Aftershock comics keeps better company in that second group of stories rather than slumming it with the video nasties of Jason and Pinhead.

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The universe of World Reader is cold, dark, empty and barren.

Humanity continues its search across the uncaring vastness of space for even a spark of life and findings nothing.

To quote Gorillaz Every Planet We Reach is Dead!

Our lead character Sarah is a member of a team on a mission seemingly charged with exploring distant stars and solar systems with the hope of making contact with someone or something.

reader_2Sarah is the World Reader gifted with some sort of Supernatural Sixth Sense of Post Cognition which allows her to reach back into the memories of a dead and empty world and contact the spirits of the beings that once lived there. She is derided and mocked by her squad mates who believe she is a charlatan but it seems like her mission is of vital importance to the survival of humanity, if not of all life in the universe,

The storytelling team on Jeff Loveness and Juan Doe have crafted an amazingly strong first issue with this debut of World Reader.

Loveness is no slouch when it comes to more action oriented Sci Fiction.  He is currently writing Nova for Marvel and also penned 2015’s short-lived Groot series.  World Reader is no light hearted easy going action adventure story though.

Even in this first issue it sets us a number of intriguing and profound questions for us, the reader.

Is humanity alone in the universe?

If we are, where did everyone else go?

What has happened to the human race?

What is the true nature and source of Sarah’s gift?

 

There’s a deep, sinister dread lurking at the heart of the story which you can feel beginning to seep in at the corners of vision with every stunningly rendered page.

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Juan Doe follows up his successful Aftershock debut on Brian Azzarello’s American Monster with a stellar, pun intended, performance on World Reader.  His simultaneously captures the vast emptiness of space and the claustrophobic confinement of Sarah’s space suit.

His fluid line work is reminiscent of VERTIGO stalwarts Mark Buckingham and Peter Gross or Fiona Staples work on SAGA.

Rachel Deering deserves a special mention for her amazing work colouring this book.  The rusty red and brown tones of the alien worlds combine with the magical and mysterious blues and greens of the Sarah’s visits to the Ghost World.

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Aftershock Comics continues its amazing rookie season after introducing the world to hit series like Animosity and InSEXts from Marguerite Bennett to Mark Waid and Tom Peyer’s Captain Kid and Baby Teeth from Don Cates.

World Reader continues this string of success with another this powerful first issue.  Head to your comic store and find yourself a copy, if you still can.

 

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