By Ashley Gibbs
Living on the wrong side of town in a post-apocalyptic world and having recently suffered a broken heart, En’s life isn’t going so well at the moment. Skin & Earth #3 introduces a new, mysterious character into her life and that’s about it. The series is the brainchild of Canadian singer Lights and links up with her upcoming album of the same name with songs directly related to the comic itself. However, the songs and music videos currently available have been more interesting than the comic tie-in. Halfway through a run promising crazy romance, cults, and self-discovery for En, yet so far only the first has happened. While a good read, those seeking a faster pace may be disappointed.
After getting drunk the previous night, En has a dream of a beautiful woman bearing prophetic messages. Upon waking up and leaving her house, she finds the same woman on the street. The two meet, hitting off and bond eventually becoming intimate. That’s all that happens this issue. There are discussions about En having a “gift” since she had a dream of a woman she never knew before meeting her and sweet story about En’s mother but overall it’s a slow book and felt like a slice of life set in the slums. This isn’t bad, but the series was marketed to have more layers than that, and we only have three more issues to ramp things up. Also, the general speed of En’s heartbreak and then this new character, Mitsuki, showing up and seducing her is rather breakneck which leaves me to distrust Mitsuki. En isn’t in a good place and is vulnerable. Hopefully, she’s not being taken advantage of now.
The artwork is consistent, the style will either work for readers or it won’t. The panel layouts are a bit generic, but there is some variety thrown in. While there are some issues, like faces while expressive aren’t overly beautiful or attractive, there is a good sense of movement and life from the characters. En and Mitsuki both have oddly colored hair making them the emphasis of any scene they’re in, especially while in a crowd of mostly browns and blacks. Standout artistic moments include En nude on the first few pages as it highlights how bare and defenseless she is after her recent loss, another would be when Mitsuki seduces En, they’re on the couch, and a crystal is in the foreground, so we see them through the crystal; it’s eerie and also beautiful.
Skin & Earth #3 is nice; it sets up the next stage in En’s adventure though with such little information about Mitsuki and her rather creepy introduction the verdict is out where things will lead. This is clearly a labor of love from Lights. En looks exactly like her; she has a love of wine and crystals just like her creator. While you don’t need to listen to the music tie-in, it is enjoyable and “Giants” in particular seems to refer to Mituski and was released way before this issue giving fans some hints. However, things in the comic need to pick up soon so the story can end in a satisfying manner.
Skin & Earth #3
Writer & Artist: Lights
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment