Few titles manage to grab and captivate as much as The Surface #1. While it is very slow to get going, there are titles out there that instantly define and capture their immediate audience. That said, it’s questionable just how wide a title such as The Surface will reach, if this first opening issue is anything to go by.
The official description from Image:
What would happen if Moebius and District 9 had a baby? Maybe THE SURFACE! Welcome to Africa. Ebola is no longer a problem. The West and the East are moving in—and three hacker lovers are searching Tanzania for the place that can change everything: THE SURFACE! The first issue of a mind-bending action SF epic drawn by the esteemed LANGDON FOSS (Get Jiro!, Winter Soldier) and colored by the Eisner-winning JORDIE BELLAIRE (everything)! THE SURFACE!
I’ll be honest… this sometimes goes a bit over my head. I enjoy some science, and I’m familiar with numerous theories on reality, from quantum physics to computer simulatuions ala-The Matrix. So, while this series doesn’t do anything brand new, it certainly does go about it in a fairly unique way.
That said, I feel the writing loses itself in vague sentiments and backstory. Straight away writer Ales Kot throws a side-plot about the President, a dynamic between three characters that aren’t that likeable and plenty of detail about a futuristic setting that doesn’t even seem important. Heck, there’s a whole page about a hipster selling out for high-brand coffee. It’s not surreal… its filler. When it gets going, Kot can really jump into the details, although the choice to keep things vague and mysterious is one of the issues big draws for those who can wrap their heads around enough of it.
Visually, the art style definitely helps the issues main themes and concenpts. The pencils are fine, with Langdon Foss adding enough detail and attention to make every panel clear and distinct. Yet it is Jordie Bellaire’s colors that really do the work. With next to no shading and plenty of flat, block colour, Bellaire’s work suggests reality while hinting at the obvious falsity that this title so strongly tries to convey.
In short, while I do enjoy this title, its message or direction is exceptionally muddled. Somewhere between a comic book and an essay, this definitely has a cult readership ahead of it.