Motorcycle Emptiness – The Few #1 Review

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The Few is a pretty, but sparse, introduction to Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman's dystopia, it's not without its faults, but at $4.99 for 43 story pages is that a decent bang for your fiver?

An Asian American holding a baby and a gun walking towards the reader with blood splatter behind them.It's at this point I'd like to let you know it's going to be my first largely critical review. As a result, I'm inviting a second opinion from L.

My playlist on this one whilst reading was Genesis' Foxtrot album, specifically the first three tracks:

  • Watcher Of The Skies
  • Time Table
  • Get 'Em Out By Friday

… the rest played me through this writing.

So, even with the fabulous value of this comic (more in a bit) why do I find it so hard to recommend? Well, the truth is, I'm even mixed on that. This is mostly because I'm interested enough to find out what happens next, but I'm just not sure that I can tell you that it's worth $5 of your cash. Five bucks is great value at 12¢ per story page (a 24 story page $3.99 book is about 17¢ psp), but it's also dinner.

Anyway, let's look at the positives, what DO I like? Well the scratchy art style is something that's always appealed to me, and here I find a hint of Riley Rossmo in Sherman's style.

Clutching a baby an Asian American crawls, bloodied, to hide behind a tree stump.

I'll not go in to it, because … fallibility, but CowboyNinjaViking and Daken: Dark Wolverine immediately popped into my head when I was fishing around there. I'm a fan.

However, this book was confusing as all hell. It's only now, on my third read, that I'm getting anywhere with it. It isn't the nonlinear narrative, that's fine, it's more just really understanding 'the why' of anything happening. Usually this would be OK (some 'WTF intrigue' is always welcome) but there's just no drama here, it's awfully flat. This lack of any evocative character interaction means that the 'things happening' of the story really have to blow you away, and they kind of just puff at you a little.

Motorcycle Emptiness – The Few #1 Review
Well that was … functional.

Despite not knowing that the twist meant at the end of my first read, nothing in here makes you care enough for any of the characters, which meant that I had forgotten the name of the protagonist and basically nearly assumed the twist involved an entirely different person than it actually did. I got the twist immediately on reread, and I can't actually say why, because it will kind of ruin the tempo of the book (a regularly interrupted canter). What all of this does, though is bring me back to character. It could be said that the flipside of the scratchy art is that you can't always (easily?) evoke heavily without literally getting in a character's face in extremely heavy detail. That's not done in this issue, but even in two panels of Daken without close up Rossmo brings personal emptiness and fear (what little he felt). Even on the following page (with baby danger!) I didn't feel much. Of itself it's not bad, but in the context of the book it just loses any 'oomph'.

Motorcycle Emptiness – The Few #1 Review
Motorcycle Emptiness

As I say, it's a real shame, because I like the premise, and the art (to a degree), but I feel nothing for anyone in it. Perhaps that will come with some more character building. I know I'll definitely read book two (and will try to review) but this would be a hard recommendation from me, here. Pick this up if you're a bit flush this month, or on a diet and want some barren future dystopia. I was going to temper my score after reading Ell's take below, I've decided to be slightly bold and not … anyway my suggestion is: Maybe catch up with East Of West …

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Details

  • Title: The Few
  • Volume: 1
  • Issue: 7
  • Published: January 18, 2017
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Sean Lewis
  • Penciler: Hayden Sherman
  • Colorist: Hayden Sherman
  • Letterer: Hayden Sherman
  • Story pages: 43
  • Print price: $4.99
  • Digital price: $4.99

L's take (and L's authored pages which will total at least 1 by 15:00est):

For starters, any comic that begins with an Ursula K. LeGuin quote already has my attention. Especially if that quote is from the UKG novel from which I got two tattoos (The Dispossessed).

When reading The Few you can see why the creators chose to start their story with that particular quote, especially if you know the source material. However the story isn't an out of the gate soul grabber like an UKG book but there is definitely something there.

It's probably not wholly original to suggest that our culture is suffering from "Apocalypse Fatigue" and that's honestly the biggest thing going against The Few. We have had loads of apocalypse comics. Hell, Image has published loads of apocalypse comics over the last bunch of years.

There's nothing straight away that really makes The Few stand out from the slew of post apocalyptic comics we've already read and the artwork feels reminiscent of Ashley Wood who I've never been a huge fan of.

All of that being said, the characterization is intriguing and the end of the first issue gives the reader enough of a spur to the side to really make following the story seem like a worthwhile endeavor.

The comic isn't bad, it's definitely produced by a creative team with a fleshed out and focused vision who clearly have a story they want to tell. It's just a shame it's arrived at a point where you really need to blow minds from the off if you want to create a demand for your fallen world story. Definitely worth checking out and definitely worth seeing what happens next.

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About Eliot Cole

When I say that you should buy something, please understand I say that in full knowledge that the prices of comics are just flat out wrong. I'm talking to the select few with enough disposable income to actually pay $3.99 for ~20 pages, often less. Anyway, me? I'm a generally affable chap, happy to shoot it over a pint of proper beer (that's ale to some), I read basically anything, but I've found I'm now finally learning to love the small press / self-published scene a little more, even though I'm a relative newcomer to it (10y).
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