THE FANTASTIC STORY OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO AMELIA EARHART! Mysteriously transported to a strange new world filled with flying beasts and alien civilizations, Amelia desperately struggles to return home. Along the way, she forges alliances and makes enemies as she goes from aviator to freedom fighter in a rebellion against a merciless warlord.
Written by: Jay Faerber
Art by: Sumeyye Kesgin
Colors by: Ron Riley
Created by: Jay Faerber & Sumeyye Kesgin
Published by: Image Comics
Be warned, SPOILERS!
When I picked up Elsewhere #1 to review, I knew little about it other than it was written by Jay Faerber, a writer whose work I have enjoyed before (Noble Causes was great!). I knew nothing about the premise and nothing about the plot. I had a vague idea (mainly from the title and one image I saw) that it was a fantasy tale. I really picked it up because gambling on a new Image book is usually a good roll of the dice. I have to say I lucked out. I found the book to be a joy to read, well illustrated and refreshingly fun in tone even with its high concept of using people who actually went missing in real life.
Jay Faerber has always been a solid writer. He may not have the superstar status of so many of his colleagues, but that is not a sign of his talent at all. He has always been one to craft great stories and build his own worlds. Elsewhere is no different. The story starts in medias res and keeps us guessing a bit until we meet the protagonist and the book’s true concept is given light. This is going to be a story about Amelia Earhart and where she went when she famously disappeared. It’s a great high-concept story that could very well rely on its own cleverness too much, but Faerber creates a likable Earhart who seems like she came out from a 40’s pulp novel as much as she did out of actual history. She’s brave, rambunctious, and has an Indiana Jones vibe to her that just works. Before then it may seem like just another fantasy setting with an evil over lord and escaping slaves, but it’s all just a setup. And it’s done quite well. Of course, the book’s second (and best) reveal is saved for last and it’s the one that REALLY hooked me. Captured and tossed in a cell by the minions of the villain Lord Kragen, Amelia meets another human. None other than urban legend and subject of much historical debate himself, D.B. Cooper! This reveal is done on the last page and it has a nice old-school cliffhanger feel to it. It definitely hooks you enough to want to read issue two. D.B. Cooper’s disappearance has always been one of histories biggest mysteries and tossing it into a fantasy setting is actually a great idea. What’s great about all this there is no exposition at all and the story relies on the general knowledge we all have about these two people to make it work.
Sumeyye Kesgin’s art, although cartoony, works well with the tone of the book. Her panels and layouts are light and airy, keeping the story moving at the pace of an adventure movie or old-school serial. Her design of the villain Lord Kragen is also great and seems like something out of an excellent action/adventure animated show. And come to think of it (now as I write this) that’s how the art feels; animated. It zips and zags, moving with a good amount of energy.
The landscape, ship and creature designs are also very good. They seem simple but effective, not overly designed and distracting.
Ron Riley’s colors are actually subdued for this kind of story, but you only notice that when you see how ‘bright’ Amelia seems in contrast to the world around here. This gives her role as what is likely a savior, a nice subtle push. It’s coloring being symbiotic with the pencils, which is what you want out of any art team.
With its use of historical figures combined with a total fantasy setting, Elsewhere was a nice surprise. Books like these are usually over powered by more high-profile releases, and that’s a shame. It’s not an attention grabber but it’s a solid book that leaves you wanting to read more about its characters and world. And sometimes that’s all you need in a comic book. Pick this one up. You’ll have fun with it.