Writer: David Andry Art: Alejandro Aragón Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A post-apocalyptic story with a family at its center and a strange force seemingly at the center of humanity's downfall.
If you've seen the 2008 film, The Signal, this comic might remind you a little of that.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Paxton has been captured, currently sailing away from his family. With no idea of where he and his fellow prisoners are going, it’s not a great situation. In fact, it's an agonizing one for the usually cool and clear-headed father, as other father might expect.
Paxton's left his daughter, Bec, in charge of her younger brothers. She tries to maintain order in the house, but her little brother refuses to respect her decisions, and Bec is all but powerless to stop him from doing what he wants.
Things are falling apart quickly in this series for our central family, and all we can do is watch through our fingers as we cover our faces from worry.
The opening splash hits hard. It's electric, visceral, and you'd almost think we're starting the issue in the middle of a wave.
In fact, that opening page is similar to a later page where a wave does strike. The chaos of that page, expressed through Aragón's livid line art, Jason Wordie's electric colors, Deron Bennett's sound effects big and bold and upstaging each other as they would in reality...it's an exposed nerve of rage and pain and pandemonium. It's also brilliant, with the entire team working together and showing their skill. The final panel acts as peaceful punctuation to the scene, small and centered at the bottom of the page, like a balance that’s been restored.
This is my personal favorite issue of the series so far, and a large part of that is due to pitch-perfect pacing. Like life with the waves, the action ebbs and flows. Before you know it, the issue is over and you're left wondering how you read through it so quickly. To me, that's always a sign of a great comic: getting to the end before you know it and wishing there was more to read.
There's so much going on in the scenes that you get from the art more than the dialogue, which shows trust amongst the creative team and skill on the part of the illustrator and colorist. For example, in the two panels below, look at how Doc remains in the same position in the two panels on the right. She has all the power and stability while Paxton (and the background color) goes from impassioned anger to calm defeat in a slightly smaller panel. The team builds such a great moment and establishes the beginning of a character dynamic for future scenes.
Paxton seems like he's got a plan for everything, and his solution for the wave that strikes is smart and resourceful. He's a man who is (mostly) calm, stable, and smart – a perfect survivor for this new world. Well, depending on how you view "empathy." But that's always a major theme of survival stories.
As a father, Paxton's story gives me so much anxiety. It makes Resonant more real for me, and probably for other fathers, too, and raises the stakes for him and our characters.
Fight scenes are well-choreographed and cinematic, larger than life. And the character in the scene may surprise you, making you want to learn more of their backstory before the events we've seen. Aragón's art is dynamic in them, bringing the scenes to life, dividing the page, and leading the eye in engaging and innovative ways.
We finally get an on-page description of the waves, telling us the effect they have on people and giving us a hint at some lore.
There's a splash page of Bec that hits your emotions hard. So often, a splash is used to capture a lot of information or action all at once, or as a surprise "gotcha" moment, but this reminds us that it can also be used for the length of a scene. We see Bec's pain and frustration extended over a length of time. Take it in. Let it sit. Stay with her awhile before you turn that page and move on. It's the least we can do for her.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Cursing and violence mean this probably isn't the best comic for kids.
At one point, a character walks out into what looks like snow, and they're only wearing a T-shirt. I think it was just a moonlit environment, but it made me pause for a minute.
It's hard to make a story about survival without hitting the same beats as similar stories that came before you. While specific elements are different, the overall events and cadence of those events is very similar to other post-apocalyptic media. But, honestly, if that kind of story is your thing, are you really looking for a hard left turn that breaks the genre and does something completely different?
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
While I'm sure Resonant got its name from plot points that will become clear later in the series, it's also aptly named because so much of the story touches on human universals, even in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
The story of Paxton, Bec, and their family will resonate with you. It will intrigue you and make you feel something and compel you to read the next page before your consciousness discovers what your hand and your eyes are doing. It will do this until there are no more pages to read.
Then, it will leave you begging for more.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Wild Uncertain by David Andry & Paul Schultz
Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
Earworm by Rick Quinn, Milton Lawson, & Martyn Lorbiecki
If you like the art:
Death Orb, Vol. 1 by Alejandro Aragón & Ryan Ferrier
Wytches by Scott Snyder & Jock
Black Science by Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera
ABOUT THE CREATORS
David Andry – Writer
Multitalented: Is also a physical therapist
New Face: Is very new to comics
Alejandro Aragón – Illustrator
Outlander: Hails from Argentina
His style seems to use that sketchy, visceral aesthetic combined with dramatic lighting
Jason Wordie – Colorist
Outlander: Lives in Canada
Jason Wordie has some serious range in his work, but does seem to gravitate toward melancholic palettes
Deron Bennett (AndWorld Design) – Letterer
Founded AndWorld Design, a lettering & design studio
Multitalented: Also wrote the comic, Quixote
Has a cool video where he talks about why he loves lettering
Adrian F. Wassel – Editor
Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor-In-Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles
Also runs Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators in their endeavors, even for non-Vault comics work
Tim Daniel – Designer
Multitalented: Also was the writer on Vault title, Fissure
Inspired by others in the business: Sonia Harris, Sean Phillips, and Fonographics
Dream Team: Co-wrote Curse and Burning Fields with Michael Moreci
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Resonant issue #3 drops this Wednesday. Click one of these to pre-order it:
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Vault Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Vault Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED