By Dustin Cabeal
Here’s a little inside baseball for you, when I’m sent more than one issue to review I tend to panic about it. It seems like this impossible task because it’s not some b.s. comic from a publisher or writer I’m familiar with; it’s this unknown quantity, and while that’s exciting, I get sent a lot of stuff I don’t personally care to read. Titles I wouldn’t have picked out to read on my own and so when I see eight issues in my inbox it becomes a commitment of time and effort to get through all eight issues and give them a fair shake regardless of if I would pick them myself.
The thing that struck me about Oasis is that it didn’t feel like a chore or something I had to commit myself to getting through; instead, I fell in love with this title quickly. It was something I needed to finish rather than had to finish.
The first issue is confusing as fuck, but I liked what I read enough to want to keep pushing for more. I read it again after going through the next seven issues, and it made more sense, but it’s still a bit strange for an opening. Re-reading it gave me a sense of the emotions that were being invoked from its pages. In a way, Oasis starts at the end of the series and then goes back to the true beginning. Each of the following issues after that introduce the reader to a character in the group. There’s Miranda the parental figure with a shady past that’s trying to fix a class system that keeps the poor weak and dying and rewards the rich. Then there’s Brite who starts messing with the electricity of the Mega One type city after her father’s death. Ruff, a boy that was accidentally killed by in on of the gang's outings, but was brought back by some… Interesting electronics. Trace, a hacker that worships Miranda and Lord… he’s probably the second coming of Christ.
Oasis isn’t just the title of the book; it’s the name of the Mega city in which people live without remorse for the other people living outside the city. What’s interesting about the team is that they’re basically terrorists. They kill, they bomb, they leak hidden information. They do it all to show how corrupt the world is and they understand the human cost. They cry about it, and Miranda encourages them to feel the pain of what they’re doing because they’re not monsters. They also kill people easily though because they remember that each person they’re killing chose to ignore the crimes they were committing against their fellow human being.
Alex Wills writing is tremendous. There are things I could compare this story too, but I think it would undercut what Wills achieves here. The family setting between the group hooks you instantly. Their emotions and backstories are touching and personal. Then there’s the dialogue which is sharp, to the point and never wasted. The conversations come across as genuine which makes the characters relatable and human.
The artwork is in all black and white by Breno Girafa. Now it does have this feeling of wanting to be colored, but it doesn’t need it. Sure there could be more contrast and a heavier use of black, but at the same time, it’s perfect the way it is because the details all come through. Everything is very detailed, from the characters to the backgrounds and everything in between. I mean, it’s been a long ass time since I saw a new (to me) artists illustrate such a wide range of material and make it all look incredible. Girafa brings out so much emotion from the characters, Brite, in particular, seems to struggle with the job’s they're doing at times, and Girafa makes that clear in the art. Otherwise, the art is beautiful, the characters memorable and dynamic and the action enjoyable.
It’s hard to thank the letterer because a good letterer will make you forget about the lettering. Eduardo Camacho is a great letterer and makes Oasis easy to read. There’s personality behind the letters, and it makes the book look professional. There’s a title I recently reviewed, and I forgot to point out how amateurish the lettering was, weird spacing, letters pushing into the bubbles outline. Nothing like what Camacho does here, everything is tight and perfect looking. Sometimes you have to see bad lettering to appreciate the craft.
Oasis surprised the crap out of me. It made me want to read more and reminded me of the early days of Tank Girl before it became a brand or just a mess of stories without any point. There’s a point to everything you’re reading, and it’s sharp, entertaining and an overall beautiful read. If you like future punk stories with a sense of family that the Fantastic Four haven’t been able to achieve in decades, then look no further than Oasis.
Writer: Alex Wills
Artist: Breno Girafa
Letterer: Eduardo Camacho
Self-Published - Website