Electric Warriors #1 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Travel Foreman, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: EXTREME. But in a good way
Ray: Steve Orlando’s recent DC work has been eclectic, ranging from the cosmic Justice League of America to the dimension-hopping gay romance Midnighter & Apollo. Before his epic Martian Manhunter run begins, he’s taking one more crazy detour – this time into the far future of the DCU in Electric Warriors #1.
Set in the largely unexplored time between the Great Disaster and the era of Kamandi, and the advanced future of the Legion, this sci-fi adventure takes place in a time when humans are just beginning to rise again after spending centuries under the thumb of intelligent animals. The peace is still tenuous as dozens of different intelligent species try to coexist on Earth. The first issue focuses on two main characters. One, a young human man, has a chip on his shoulder about the Animal-people and frequently gets into bar brawls with talking lions. The other, a highly intelligent young Octopus-woman, lives in underground caverns with the rest of her people but dreams of learning and exploring more on the surface. It’s like a cyberpunk Little Mermaid!
That’s where the main plot of the series comes into play – a global tournament held between planets as a way to preserve peace. Each planet sends its own champions in a battle to the death, and these one-on-one duels are seen as a way to settle conflicts without all-out war. There’s a little too much cosmic mythology unloaded in this issue, with a lot of talks about electric seeds, but it’s an engaging concept. Earth has been given two champions due to its biodiversity, and our two leads wind up with video game-style makeovers and badass suits of armor. While Kana, the Octopus-woman, seems fairly straightforward, there’s a great twist involving human fighter Oscar Navarro and his younger brother Ian that sets the stakes high for this series. And I can’t talk about this book without mentioning the excellent work by Travel Foreman – especially in the underwater segments, his art is almost unrecognizable and does a great job of capturing these different worlds. This is unlike anything else DC is putting out at the moment, and I highly recommend giving it a shot so we get more from this time period.
Corrina: Hmm….I would put this after Kamandi, when the people came back and the world opened up again, but perhaps that’s wrong. (Ray tends to read interviews about projects, whereas I like to approach them with a clear mind.)
But I agree, this is a fascinating and unexplored era of an alternate DC Universe reality. It throws a ton of information at the reader quickly, including the status of humans and intelligent, evolved sentients, what electric warriors are, the decision to split them between human and another type of sentient, and glimpses of the various alien cultures.
It would be almost overwhelming, save for the grounding of the story in Oscar and Ian, brothers who love each other but don’t understand each other. One is carrying a huge chip on his shoulder, the other seems resigned to carrying the weight of the human world on his. The switch (which I could see coming) isn’t as clear-cut as it could be, leading me to believe that we’re about to see a deeper exploration of Oscar’s motives. Yes, he wanted to save his brother. But there’s something darker there, in Oscar’s need to battle, and his need to steal the spotlight from his brother.
The cyberpunk Octopus-woman is also excellent, with a vibe that feels alien and yet full of emotions like doubt and trepidation, that readers will recognize. And there’s a promise of more, with the other electric warriors in future issues.
It’s a complex beginning but one that never loses sight of the essential humanity of all the characters.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.