Review: A Distant Soil #39

When I decided to check this series out I was actually under the impression that it was a one-shot issue. That made for a very interesting reading experience as I knew that I was missing out on something, but kept reading just in case it was a very experimental issue of some kind. I don’t know why I thought Shadowline billed it as a one-shot, but now I know it’s bi-monthly and returning from a six-year hiatus. Having no idea what was going on and coming in on the thirty-ninth issue I have to say that it wasn’t half bad.

I’m not going to try and explain a lot of the story since I would likely get most of it wrong or enrage someone if I made an assumption or two. From what I could tell Liana is split between two worlds and technically three at the moment. She wakes up in a dream freaking out and wondering where everyone at the institute is. A man or woman (I’m really not sure) named Seren arrives and begins explaining what’s happening with her.

Here’s where I did get a little confused, but not enough that I gave up. Liana begins looking up and seeing Earth or just a planet as per Seren’s instructions, but then something happens and he tells her to look away. At that moment two characters shoot a naked due that is wired from his head to a cluster of crystals. They debate if the man is dead or not while we cut to another crystal cluster that looks to be made up of chairs and we see others linked in the same way. There are some men in black suits and RoboCop-esc helmets that are discovered by another group. One of them transformers and a battle ensues. A character that was once thought dead has returned and is on the opposite side of the group that is currently controlling Liana.

I probably chose the worse possible issue to jump on to because it came across as a huge plot point in the series. I’m lost on who the “good” guys were as much as I am on who the “bad” guys are. All I know is that I’m supposed to root for Liana and I’m pretty sure she’s being used by everybody. I have no clue what her powers are, but she seemed pretty godly with them so that was different. Otherwise the writing was fine, but even if it is a later issue a few extra names could have been thrown out to remind people of who is who or in my case teach me who they are.

The art was really good, but I don’t think the black and white worked with the story. Don’t get me wrong the art was beautiful, but the story was very tripy and coloring would have conveyed that to the reader. As it was you could just think that a mistake was made or even get lost with what’s happening on the page. There was just something grand about the panels that didn’t quite make it without the color. I would like to have seen it un-inked because that might have worked better.

I’m curious about this series. I have no idea what’s happening and that bothers me so I’m probably going to check out back issues and future issues as they’re released. I hope that they’re all at least as enjoyable as this issue was, but I wouldn’t recommend starting here unless you were feeling adventurous or missed key details like numbering as I did.

Score: 3/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Colleen Doran

Publisher: Shadowline and Image Comics

Price: $2.99

Release Date: 4/24/13