When I read the original solicit for 8House, I was confused on how this series would play out. There were clearly three series that were all being billed under the 8House banner, but the logistics of it weren’t clear. Well apparently it’s going to be switching back and forth(?) between the different series. At least that’s my best guest based on the fact that Arclight didn’t have a conclusion and we’re starting a new story with Kiem in this third issue of 8House. Here’s the thing… this is basically just another first issue. Hell I think it would have been better if it was billed that way, but that’s up to the creators and Image. Here’s the other thing… I liked it. I liked it more than Arclight, but then I instantly remember what happened with Arclight… I stopped liking it. In fact, if Arclight returned I would likely not review it and maybe not even read it. After the second issue I was really done with it so maybe Kiem was just a welcomed change.
The world is pretty interesting. We meet the title character Kiem as she’s released from quarantine. We learn how her city works, a city made of advanced technology and rocks. Everything is made out of rocks which gives the world a very cool look and sets it apart from other futuristic worlds. Oh and it’s not a dystopian future! It’s just a cool sci-fi world.
Kiem then introduces us to her job which is inhabiting the mind of her twin brother who is on a different planet... and he’s dead. The same goes for everyone on her crew. They’re all twins and their twins are dead and on a different planet. After they finish their mission and are going to be released back into their bodies, Kiem is held back and told she’s going to receive a special mission. She wakes up in the middle of nowhere and is told to transport an item back to the city. She just accepts the mission without thinking and it’s interesting that she doesn’t question anything. I mean wouldn’t you? I would question everything.
Part of me wonders if she’s being played. If some rebel group has managed to get to her and is using her to show the dirty underside of this empire. I mean how clean can they be when they’re sending twins to their death on other planets to steal resources and then figuring out ways to still use their dead bodies after they die… it’s pretty evil when you think about it.
Brandon Graham’s writing is spot on. His narration, much like Arclight, isn’t overkill. The dialogue is sparse as well leaving the art to do a lot of the heavy lifting. The way he feeds the information into the narration is great though. It comes across as Kiem reminding herself about everything almost to comfort herself. It works and much like Arclight, never becomes info dumpy. I really enjoyed the narration and finding out more about this new world and hopefully that will continue in the next part as well.
Xurxo G. Penalta is new to the series. They’re handling the art for Kiem I assume and man-oh-man… this world is pretty damn great. I love the look of it. It’s bright, but also earthy. We’re told this is the Stone Empire and it definitely is; it’s very much like a desert, but so warm and inviting. Penalta’s design of the world is just really impressive. As I said before this doesn’t look like a dystopian future. It looks like a society that has always existed and found a way to live in this seemingly harsh environment.
Aside from the world’s design, the character design is great. There’s a lot of different species at play in this story. I say species because I’m not really sure what to call all of them. There’s humanoids, weird looking robots, Synthetics and anthropomorphic people as well. Let’s not forget the aliens, or off world residents if you prefer. That sequence is particularly great because everything is left upside down. It was clever, but really does give you the impression of being off world.
I’ll be back for Kiem. Once again Brandon Graham has hooked me, but I wonder if the second chapter will do a better job of hooking me than Arclight’s did. I also have to wonder if people will really be able to invest in this series with it changing every few issues. Time will tell, but for now you should check out this issue, even if it’s your first on the series.