Review: Wergild Atlas #1

By Dustin Cabeal

Sci-fi is hard. Creating a world and establishing the rules of the world without info dumps or pages of exposition is one of the most difficult things to do when creating a sci-fi comic book. Wergild Atlas didn’t do any of this, but that doesn’t mean it was better for it. As far as I can tell, the story is about a civilization that lives in the sky. They all have wings and some of them race in the sky. This race seems to last the entirety of the story which personally would be very boring. It’s like watching chariot race now; it’s just kind of stupid looking. We learn that the sister of the star racer is for some reason jealous of the way the creepy one-eyed, old as fuck, the ruler is looking at her sister. I can’t imagine why since they look the same, but hey… the story continues.

We learn that the ruler’s wife has died and that he’s going to turn his favorite racer aka the sister of the jealous girl, is going to somehow help bring his wife back. There’s a creepy scene in which the mother is hatching more eggs with several tubes in her stomach and an overall sense that there’s another society out there that doesn’t like this creepy old dude running shit. I can’t imagine why.

The story isn’t confusing. It’s easy to follow, but that doesn’t mean it makes any sense or is enjoyable. Time passes in the story, and yet it feels as if we see overlapping scenes, but on different pages. Things are explained to us for the most part via conversation, but the details that characters have are still really convenient. For instance, the leader’s aid tells the mother to get her daughter out because he has blueprints with her daughter’s name on it. Why did he wait until the last moment to tell her? Why not expose how crazy this dude is so they can get a new leader? His power is completely unestablished, and his men are easily defeated.

The writing, in general, feels all over the place. It never flows and the way the character’s talk come across as being re-writing so many times that the message was lost. The opening scene with the sisters serves no point with the rest of the story other than to establish her weird brainwashing loyalty/jealousy. Which is never brought up again.

The art is rough, to say the least. The artist has a way to go to look polished, but they’re able to put together a competent issue. With the exception of facial hair or cyber eyes, almost everyone looks the same. Features are dropped or illustrated completely different from frame to frame: e.g. a thick goatee that is barely stubble in the next scene. What’s particularly distracting is the coloring. Gradient backgrounds dominate every panel, but even worse is the changing hair color. The mother has black hair, then whitish blonde and back and forth. The coloring and the thick linework didn’t work well with each other. The lighting effects and over inking fight each other constantly and make the book just look thick and messy. It makes the weak art look weaker. The lettering was the most professional looking aspect of the book.

If this were a completed story, I would have stayed to the end. Partially just to understand what is happening in this world. There’s more going on, but if you’re asking me to come back for more, I’d rather now. It didn’t interest me enough, and it’s extremely rough around the edges. Other than the really weird aspects of the story, there’s nothing that original about the story to bring me back for more and the art doesn’t tide me over either. This is just one review, though, keep making comics.

Score: 2/5

Wergild Atlas #1
Writer: Jay Ivaree
Artist: Jonathan Barker