By Jonathan Edwards
When I first read Image's description for this book, I wasn't all that interested. "Post-apocalyptic," much like with zombies, is a subgenre I don't tend to inherently like, and it didn't seem like there'd be much else that I'd be excited for. However, the writer is Sean Lewis, who I am somewhat familiar with from his last series, Saints. It followed Blaise, Lucy, Sebastian, and later Stephen, all of which are the reincarnations of Christian saints and granted superpowers based on the attributes of those saints. It was a premise I was super into, and the covers were great, styled after Eastern Orthodox icons. Even if it did go a bit downhill after the first few issues, Lewis still brought some interesting ideas to the table. So, I was curious to see what he might do this with this one.
At 56 pages, The Few #1 is undoubtedly an example of decompressed storytelling. To his credit, Lewis succeeds at this more than others, although I can't say he pulls it off flawlessly. While there is legitimate intrigue built, we really don't get much of an idea how the world works. I think the USA has been divided. Most states seem to fall under the banner of the "Palace", which is presumably some sort of modern dictatorial monarchy. But, I only really know this from the map shown on the second page. I'm guessing the antagonists we see, identifiable by their tendency to name-drop "Herrod" (if nothing else), are somehow connected to the Palace. And then there're the "Remainder States", which I'm sure is exactly what it says on the tin. The actual motivations and ideologies of this group remain undefined, but I think we're supposed to root for the Remainder States.
That being said, I feel like the characters are interesting enough. We don't get a ton of development, as the issue is mainly spent on set-up. But the tidbits we do get tease there is some substantial backstory to explore. Lewis did something similar with Saints, mentioning a whole other team of super badass sounding saints reincarnate. Unfortunately, we never got to see them in action, so here's hoping we get a bit more of that this time around.
I'm a bit undecided about the art. On the one hand, I do love the style Hayden Sherman is going for. The scratchy pencils, heavier inks, and more minimalistic approach to color are incredibly effective times. The opening few pages showing the winter forest are fantastic. However, there's also the occasional panels where it's not quite immediately clear what is being depicted, and I had to stop and stare to figure it out. Granted, it's far from the biggest deal, and when it works, it works.
Overall, The Few #1 was good, but it wasn't really hooking me. That is, until I got to the last page. I'd still hesitate to use the word "hook", but when I read that, it changed my entire expectation for the direction of the story. I don't want to overhype it, but I'm definitely going to check out issue two because of it. If you're into post-apocalyptic stuff, you'll probably get a solid kick out of this. If, like me, you're not really, I'd say you could check it out if you want, but you really don't have to.
The Few #1
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Image Comics