Titan Comics: INDEPENDENCE DAY #1 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Titan Comics: INDEPENDENCE DAY #1 Review

Tony toys with independence. 

For this short series of comic-books to appeal to you, you have to a) like a bit of Independence Day action, and b) enjoy a bit of Easter egg-style extra storyline, linking the original movie and its twenty-years-later re-do-cum-sequel.

If these clauses don’t both apply to you, you should probably choose a different comic-book.

If they do, you’re going to enjoy this. It’s really that simple.

The essential premise is fairly straightforward. When Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and the gang did their enormo-spaceship-exploding thing at the end of the original Independence Day, there was – unknown and unseen by us until writer Victor Gischler needed it – a kind of escape vessel, a ship that could potentially snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It fell to earth, rather fortunately, in a commodiously empty chunk of the Atlantic ocean, and now, naturally, it could cause the final end of humanity. A US military team is despatched to investigate the ship.

That’s where we find ourselves at the start of this series. In fact, to be fair, that’s largely where this issue takes us, but it takes us there with some great visuals, particularly in terms of the movement and pace of objects and people, and some at least reasonable character development of some of our main players – there’s Captain Meredith, female submarine captain who first reported the position of the new ship of alien doom, and textbook Hollywood-grump about having interlopers taking control of operation on board her boat. There’s Captain Joshua Adams, Interloper-General and knower of things about aliens and their systems, who, not for nothing, has thalassophobia, or fear of being underwater to you and me – always handy when you’re on a submarine investigating a submerged alien vessel. And then there’s Dr Jessica Morgan, Interloper-General-To-Infinity-No-Backsies and science-doer. In its fundamentals then, the Independence Day Resurgence comic-book has everything you need to be a special effects summer blockbuster – aliens, a military man with a fear to conquer, a scientific woman to get them out of scrapes, a cramped, tense environment to overboil any potential attraction between the two, the possible end of the world and a submarine captain chomping at the bit to get the hell out of Dodge and go back to sneaking about and shooting at things.

What could possibly go wrong?

Honestly, over the course of this issue, not a hell of a lot – so long as you know and like the territory you’re in. As the opening act of a summer alien blockbuster, the writing here by Gischler isn’t bad, even if it is a little heavy on the exposition, especially about Adams’ phobia. The beats are measured out, and we spend quite a lot of time getting into the situation that will be the backdrop of events over the next four issues, but it’s time you probably won’t resent, thanks to the artwork by Steve Scott and Rodney Ramos and colourwork by Stefani Rennee. Their outside work, ranging from the explosion of the ship as per the end of Independence Day, through the impact of the new ship with the ocean and a deeply hazardous walk along the bottom of the sea to break into the alien vessel have a sense of being artistic impressions in the same way that sketches in a courtroom are artistic impressions – there’s enough detail to make you think they’re recorded from life. Perhaps more impressively though, their work on internal environments, especially the cramped, sweaty, dripping space of a submarine does enough to convey a sense of that claustrophobic world, that sense of the heat and breath and dampness of other people in close proximity under an awful lot of water. Rennee in particular distinguishes herself here by the colour palette she uses, and by filling some conversational panels with simple single-colour backgrounds to extend the mood and the atmosphere beyond the confines of the art. This is a technique that can’t be overdone if it’s to be successful, rather than to look like an artistic cop-out, but the judgment at work in this issue lets it succeed.

The story, seemingly intending to put our nerves on edge and build up the breathless tension of the wait for things to happen, has a jagged structure – cause begets effect to get Adams and Morgan on board the submarine, and then there’s a build-up to a moment of ‘Oh my God, we’re going to die’ tension, defused by Cleverness, but pushing the story forward to an issue #1 cliff-hanger that might seem inevitable given the set-up, but that still, when you see it, delivers the squirming scares.

Is Independence Day Resurgence #1 an issue worth getting hold of? If you’re a fan of the original movie, certainly. If you’re going to see the new movie, definitely. If you just fancy broadening your understanding of the world in which the movies are set, absolutely. More importantly, if you’re just in the mood for a short series with the tension and alien action of a summer blockbuster, this could be a good one to invest in. An intellectual and philosophical barnstormer? Possibly not – go to Death Sentence, go directly to Death Sentence, do not pass Go, do not collect £200. But a fun, jumpy, sweaty extension of alien shenanigans and terror? Hell yeah. Give Independence Day Resurgence #1 a whirl today and find out why we didn’t win when we thought we had – thereby making at least a little bit of a mockery of the title of the movie into the bargain.

Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk

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