By Cat Wyatt
Evolution is a new series by Image, and the divergence from the typical cover art styles caught my attention. This will likely be a good read for any fans of Lovecraft (as that is the impression I’ve gotten from the first issue).
The first page of this story is a bit of a mystery (at the moment at least). It’s titled “then” and depicts what appears to be a ritual or some sort of stage event. I know it’s odd to be uncertain about which one it actually is, but once you see the image you’ll understand. The main the center appears to be giving a speech about how it’s their turn to end the world. Creeped out yet?
We don’t return to the first scene for the rest of the issue (presumably it’ll come up in a later issue). Instead we’re alternated between three others, all based in the present. These scenes are easily distinguished from one another, as they all have their own main character and a color palette that’s distinct from the rest (I love this touch – it made it possible to immediately identify the perspective switch without having to look for a name or character).
The first character introduced by name is Doctor Lee. We first see him in what appears to be a storage room for a doctor’s office (since we know he himself is a Dr. this feels like a safe guess). He’s up to something shifty, though I couldn’t tell you what. Whatever he was up to gets interrupted as you know, he has to actually go and start seeing his patients for the day. Now I have to say, I love how they presented his patient – a child, who had previously suffered from asthma but no longer does, as of a few weeks ago. As if that wasn’t strange enough the boy has horizontal cuts along both of his sides (anybody else immediately think of gills, or is that just me?). The whole situation is eerie, but in a subtle and understated way. Maybe I find this creepier than most would, as I’ve been emotionally scarred by Lovecraft’s Deep Ones (thanks to my role-playing group for that).
Cut to Rome, where Sister Hannah has been informed that there’s a German man in the church demanding to see a nun (I’m not certain how the messenger knew this, since he doesn’t appear to understand German himself). Sister Hannah finds the man huddled in a pew, ranting and raving (in German), and if that doesn’t sound like enough fun, he’s also got a gun. Not exactly the best surprise to have, all things considered. While ranting and waving his arms around, it becomes clear that something isn’t right with one of his arms. I’m sure you can guess, but it’s some sort of mutation. After spewing a lot of German, a little of which I understood (mainly “why me” and “we are monsters”) before finding another way out of the mess he was in. I’m not sure who I feel worse for here, the poor man that was looking for help (I’m assuming? Maybe absolution or something), or the poor nun who walked into all of this unaware.
Cut to Los Angeles, where a girl named Claire is cleaning out what appears to be a basement full of old movie reels. She appears to be on the hunt for a specific one, but why her client wants that specific one I can’t say. I can tell you that the label read “0711675” and the client’s name is Mr. Hurowitz. I’m not really sure what that all means yet, which has me more curious than anything.
Back to the odd doctor (easy to tell right away because the color palette switched to blue and greens predominantly), through his internal monologue we’re allowed to know that he’s upset with all the changes in the world, and more so that nobody else will listen to him about said changes. He’s an odd duck, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong.
Another quick transition, back to Claire this time (with blues and purples becoming the dominant colors). She’s happily delivering the movie, with her best/girlfriend along for the ride. The first sign that something has gone awry here is the fact that Mr. Hurowitz isn’t answering the door. Worse, the door is unlocked (anybody that’s ever watched a horror movie will say she should not enter the house). So naturally Claire goes inside…only to witness Hurowitz (I’m assuming) shooting the crap out of a guy on the ground (again, I’m assuming he’s the shooter, he could just as easily be the poor bastard on the ground).
Both the nun and the doctor make one more appearance each; like Claire their stories both reveal something more, adding further to the evidence building towards what is actually occurring here. While the nun’s revelation is probably the most personal (hers is the only one we’ve seen where it was her being directly affected) I also think it was probably the smallest piece to the puzzle. Hopefully they expand upon her role more in the future. I believe we’re supposed to take the doctor’s revelation as fact (we’ve already been informed that he is a scientist first, doctor second), but I’m less convinced about the truth than he is.
I loved the slow buildup of events that’s happening here. The perspective changes allows for us to have a lot of information thrown at us, while still leaving us relatively in the dark. It’s brilliantly done, when you stop and think about it. It’s clear that the writers have studied Lovecraft’s lore, as the influence is muted but still shown throughout.
Alright, I know I’ve probably talked your ear off about this issue as it is (Can you tell I love Lovecraft and anything that has even the smallest bit to do with it?) but I’d like to take a minute to talk about the artwork. I love that the artist did something slightly different from standard for graphic novels – the lines and edges aren’t clean, sometimes they even give the illusion of cross hatching. I love this because it really helped to make the world seem more real, and as a bonus it stood out more on the shelves too.