Title: Broken World Issue 1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Christoper Peterson
Broken World #1 is the story of the Earth’s last days and how Humanity reacts to the impending apocalypse.
Imagine if “Armageddon” or “Deep Impact” were a comic. Now imagine if those movies actually held a semblance of emotional resonance and you get Broken World; a sci-fi thriller and survival series from Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts, Avengers World) and Christopher Peterson (Grindhouse, Mayday). When an extinction level event, an asteroid, threatens the planet it seems that the end of days is upon us. Humanity has begun to evacuate the planet through the cheekily codenamed Exodus project (the first of many religious references in the book). However, not everyone is granted sanctuary aboard these Arks. Elena Marlow, college professor and mother of a young boy, is denied salvation when the seemingly shady Government rejects her application due to her mysterious past. As Elena struggles to find a way onto the last ship, we see a society slowly reacting to the oncoming apocalypse. Some turn to religion, some struggle to maintain their ordinary lives and others are not so willing to die.
Stories about the apocalypse are nothing new; indeed, they have seen resurgence in recent years. The post-apocalyptic survival genre was granted a new lease of life following the success of the Walking Dead. The particular threat; an asteroid, is certainly an old foe, but unlike many stories that have come before it, Broken World is a very personal story. It’s the story of one woman and her final days on Earth. Barbiere and Peterson expertly craft an intriguing protagonist in Elena. While her past may be the initial impetus for the plot, it’s her present that is far more compelling and her future that she seeks to ensure. Elena desires nothing more than to be with her family, but her concern about her future with them is constantly on her mind. In this regard, Barbiere and Peterson excel showing us a woman who puts up a strong face for her son and husband, but is visually distraught at the very thought that she might lose them.
To say any more would thread into spoiler territory and this is an issue you will want to experience yourself.
Tension is kept throughout the book via a countdown which signals the asteroid’s impending impact. An all too present reminder that time is running out for both Elena and the world. Elsewhere exposition is kept to a minimum; though do expect the odd necessary set-up and world building spiel does crop up from time to time.
Peterson bookends the issue with fantastic paralleling splash pages that tug at the heartstrings. His interiors are simplistic, but full of emotion, with subtle changes in glances and body language telling more than a thought balloon over could. Barbiere and Peterson are a perfect creative couple, each understanding the other and playing to their strengths.
If this is how the world ends, then it is going out in style.