Comics Features

REVIEW – Nightrains & Homecomings #0

Written by Patrick Smith

Debut issues are a tall order. Along with providing a satisfying read in its own right, there’s the requirement to introduce us to a world, its rules, a host of characters and its premise. Without throwing a single punch, or displaying a single act of violence, this book genuinely succeeds in reaching these lofty aims.

The first page provides a panoramic urban view, before immediately ( and rather cleverly) drawing you in to the sight of a lone figure in semi-futuristic fatigues, leaping from tall building to tall building in a single bound. It’s a break-in. From the outset, you appreciate that no panel is being wasted. The game’s afoot.

The necessary exposition is confidently delivered within the dialogue; we learn as the break-in progresses that the protagonist, Tracey, being no lone wolf, is accompanied by a team of professional operatives, observing from the roof of an adjacent block. The team’s initial concerns regarding Tracey being a new recruit is one of many light touches that add a layer of tension and characterisation to the on-going plot. The interplay between members of the team is convincing.

The objective is information retrieval. The scope of the world widens as we see that this team is co-ordinated and supported by a substantial, albeit unknown organisation. Its foundation is a contemporary reality with a high-tech/semi futuristic leaning.

Of course, no grand plan ever goes off perfectly and circumstances throw a major curve-ball to the operation in hand. Opportunities to reveal more about the assembled characters and what they might be about are taken full advantage of. This all leads to Tracey witnessing a disturbing and incomprehensible event that sows important seeds for the backdrop and the mystery of this tale. Here is the high note of this issue for me; the artwork’s portrayal of Tracey’s reaction to what she witnesses, as opposed to the event itself.

The art is satisfying throughout; there’s world-building, mood setting, kinetic energy and humour in regular doses. The tinted colour scheme adds to the sense of keeping a tall tale’s feet on the ground, adding emotional warmth and style, as appropriate, in the process. And I agree with the creators, Tim Hassan’s back-cover is a joy.

In a disarmingly subtle manner, it’s revealed that members of this team have skills ever so slightly beyond those of the average mortal. As opposed to simply slapping such facts in your face, with descriptions of power-sets and what have you, suggestion is used to prompt questions from the reader. Adding mystery to the fun.

As this book comes to a close, we find out that a wider catastrophe of as yet unknown origin or consequence occurred in the recent past. Its ramifications will clearly affect this team going forward. This team’s actions will have an impact on the world around them.

So, regarding the trials and tribulations of producing a launch issue? No painful stumbling here. This is an assured beginning that certainly has me wanting to know more and eager to read the subsequent “Episode 1”.

Find our more about Nightrains & Homecomings and Erol Debris on his DeviantArt page. If you would like to buy the comic, email him on eroldebris@gmail.com or look for it at Orbital near Leicester Square, at Gosh in Soho, or at Megacity Comics in Camden.

About the author

Patrick Smith