Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope (Low Tp) Paperback – 7 Apr 2015
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There is one more slight redeeming quality of the comic: Optimism. It is not often I have read so much optimism radiating from one character, Stel. Her outlook on life is to always hope and believe that everything will work out well in the end, not dwelling on depressing thoughts. I found this to be a breath of fresh air throughout the comic and is something I have tried to translate in my own life; to keep happy thoughts in my mind and not negative. This quality is not enough alone however for me to form a bond with her.
So the question is: will I read the next volumes? Yes. I am still hanging to the hope that the concept will pull the future volumes into something better and will develop the characters into people I begin to care about. With regards to the art work, I guess I can continue to put up with the confusing panels which I will have to study for a few minutes until I understand what is going on.
Two of the most important tenets of a good comic book or graphic novel are the artwork and the story. And in both cases, Low lets itself down. Firstly, the artwork - looking at the cover art and reading the select blurbs before the story, I believed I was in for a visual treat. Sadly, Greg Tocchini's artwork leaves the impression that it is rushed. Colours are flat and confusing, and the line artwork is even more confusing at times. Sadly, for too many frames, I had to look at the image, and then again, to try and work out what was going on or what I was looking at. There is one page where I still don't know what I am supposed to be looking at because of the confusing line and colours. In my book (excuse the pun), that is poor comicbook art. The artwork is meant to be stylized and cross Western and Manga styles, but if it does that at the expense of visual comprehension, it fails.
Secondly, the story. It's not a bad story but it is never especially compelling. This ties in with the artwork - if the artwork was very good and the world that Low is set was beautifully realised, I would be more compelled to read on. The story isn't helped by the character dialogue either which is rather uninspired and at times unrealistic.
So in conclusion, the setting and cover hinted at something truly compelling but the reality is a rather forgettable comic-book romp underwater.
It is very colourful and the drawings are original, detailed and well-conceived although not always clear. There’s plenty of violence, sex, nudity and unsavoury language as well.
Quite good stuff.
This is a scenario that has inspired many great science-fiction stories, but this isn't one of them. The scripting is reasonable, the plot is uninspired, and the art comes down to a matter of taste - I found it incomprehensible in many places, though it probably manages to illustrate the "feel" of the plot and situation.
The story involves a family in one of the last remaining cities, lets call it `civilised city' for the moment. The father of the nuclear family is (apart from his three children) the last of his bloodline, and only he can control the advanced-tech underwater suit that he apparently uses for food collecting for the extremely futuristic city - though there are submarines and the like aplenty. His wife is an incurable optimist (as opposed to the fatalists that all the rest of the adults appear to be) - and the author has told us in his introduction that following therapy, he became an outgoing optimist instead of the pessimist he had been all his life. I hope he was mature enough to not become as "born again" as his protagonist here is. Anyway, on an expedition to show his two daughters how the diving suit works, their submarine is attacked by pirates, the daughters and suit are stolen, and father and mother are left to die, though the mother survives, as does the on who was not with them.
So, ten years later, the son has become a crooked cop, his mother has discovered a probe that may have found an inhabited planet, and recalled it to earth, and wants to go and retrieve it. She convinces a city senator to let her and her currently imprisoned son to go and look for the probe, and she and her son embark on a series of adventures, that lead them to become prisoners of the pirates, who have conquered one of the other undersea cities, and who have set up a cruel and corrupt regime there, where further adventures take place.
"Tens of thousands of years pass", we are told, and the best the creators can come up with is a Hollywood version of a decadent Roman Empire, as influenced by Barbarella and Caligula: sex, drugs and gladiators fighting mutated fish.
Dull science fiction maybe, but as a comic book or Pulp SF, it might work, depending on your artistic taste, as I mentioned above; the scripting is good, the plot is OK, even though the background is simply far too conventional, and the art is reminiscent of many pulp SF book covers - which does not necessarily translate into good comic-book storytelling.
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