Review: Whispers #1

It’s rare that I will post an advanced review for a book this far out from release; the simple fact is that Whispers is scheduled for the beginning of 2012 so talking about it now almost comes across like me yelling “first” or just teasing that I’ve read it. But that’s not the point of this review. After finishing this book I really just needed someone to talk to about it and since I had no one the review was the next best thing. That’s how excited I was about this book and honestly I can’t wait till its release. If I end up playing some small role in increasing the orders for the series than good, because this is going to be one of the best new series of 2012. The story follows Sam Weber, an obsessive-compulsive college age kid that is stuck outside a coffee shop because he can’t touch the door. He has a close call with a couple that walks up to the door and nearly bumps into him, but finally he makes it inside. He sits down with his ex-girlfriend and her friends as they comfort her about her hospitalized father. Sam interrupts going off about a dream he had the night before in which he visited everyone at the table including his ex’s father. Rico (the only other man at the table) continues to attack Sam verbally until finally he causes an outburst and reveals a personal secret of Rico’s that he may or may not have witnessed in his dream. That night after washing his hand numerous times he lays down to sleep and soon after nodding off he finds himself floating above his own body.

Whispers+1That’s all you get of the story, but trust me when I say that it’s not even the tip of the iceberg. The story progression is very natural and really eases the reader step by step as Sam discovers this phenomenon that’s new for him. Fans of the Luna Brothers previous series will probably be shocked by this solo effort from Joshua Luna. Frankly I found it to be refreshing as this book is really different from his previous work. The most noticeable change is the fact that the story has a male protagonist. In most of the Luna Brother’s work the lead has always been a female, even Girls which started with a male protagonist really shifted over midway through the book as the female cast took over.

I have to say that I enjoyed this more than any of Joshua’s previous work with his brother and I have to wonder if they were strangling their own creative process by working together. Ultra was good, but writing for women is not one of their strong suits. Girls was fourteen issues too long and I couldn’t get past the first issue of Sword, but with Whispers I’m dying for more of this book and I know I won’t get to read it until February if I’m lucky. That’s how rich the story is with characters and dialog. This is one of the few books that I could actually find myself craving more characters, they’re all that interesting. That’s not to say their dialog is 100% perfect or real, but I liked it and something was compelling about the overall package.

The art is very different and at first you wouldn’t say that it’s "Luna" art. After all, their last three creator-owned series all had a very distinct look, but with Whisper the art has finally grown and matured. The coloring no longer looks like a beginner colorist’s work, but rather someone who has developed and is experimenting as they grow. In general the art was some of the strongest I’ve seen in a while and it was very refreshing. It gave the book a very realistic look to it and played to the storytelling style.

Hopefully I don’t lead anyone astray when I tell them to pick up this book when it releases. It’s not a superhero book or even a "feel good" indie book. It’s a supernatural/sci-fi story that has exaggerated real-world elements to it, but that’s a strength for it in my book. Because of those exaggerated elements it comes across like a TV drama and that gives it an openness that other comics don’t have. I could see this book if marketed right, not only appealing to comic fans but also TV fans that love their hour-long dramas. If you’re interest is piqued (and it should be), then make sure that you show interest in this book at your comic shop; don’t let this be a slow build like Girls was. The story will only suffer and frankly I’m very interested in seeing what happens next.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Joshua Luna Publisher: Image Comics