Dusk is dawn is day

LOW Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender (writer), Greg Tocchini (artist), Mariane Gusmao (color assistant). Image, 2015. 9781632151940. Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature. Contains LOW #1 – #6.

LOW Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us by Rick Remender (writer), Greg Tocchini (artist), Dave McCaig (colors). Image, 2015. 9781632154699. Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature. Contains LOW #7 – #10.

LOW Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light by Rick Remender (writer), Greg Tocchini (artist), Dave McCaig (colors). Image, 2016. 9781632157089. Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature. Contains LOW #11 – #15.

The art and color in this series creates an amazing, dizzying post-apocalyptic world. Remender’s style is to jump right in without a lot of explaining, which is one of the reasons why I love his comics so much. But here the art and story together may seem a bit intimidating. It took me a few fully focused running starts to totally get into this graphic novel series, and it was completely worth the effort. This is not a series you can enjoy while watching TV — it demands your attention. And it’s not a series you can start in the middle. (And look at the cover of Volume 1 when you’re in a good bookstore — what an amazing use of spot gloss!)

The sun expanded prematurely, cooking the earth. Humanity sent out probes millennia ago to find a new home, but that didn’t work out. People retreated to a few undersea cities, and those aren’t going to last much longer. The Caine family have always used the helm suit (it’s bonded to their DNA) to help feed and protect their city, Salus. Stel Caine recalls a probe back to Earth in hopes that it’s found them a new planet, then she and her husband Joel take their daughters out of the undersea city to teach them to use the helm suit. They quickly locate a mammoth class animal big enough to feed everyone in Salus. And then they’re ambushed.

The story then jumps forward ten years. Stel still hasn’t lost hope. She thrives on the irrational optimism that her daughters have survived, and that the probe, which has now returned to the Earth’s surface, will point the way to humanity’s new home. Stel and her son Malik (a gifted mechanic turned immoral cop) set out on a grand adventure. They soon end up in a place ruled by the man who took her daughters, where he entertains the populace with blood games pitting citizens against sea creatures. (Minor spoiler) He’s been raising one of the girls. Malik is soon thrown into the gladiatorial games.

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