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X Isle #1-3

(BOOM! Studios)

There’s a moment towards the end of issue 1 of BOOM! Studio’s latest title where the young daughter of our main protagonist quietly gets his attention with a laid back “Um guys… I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry,” when she comes face to face with monsters that with confidence can be described as “Gigeresque”.  It’s a scene that, if the reader projected themselves into, would involve much screaming and involuntary loss of bladder control; however for this comic it sums up the good mix of horror and quips in BOOM!‘s latest series.

BOOM! who have only been in publishing since 2005, have quietly been making a good reputation of putting out a number of popular titles such as Jeremiah Harm and Hero Squared as well as making use of lesser known licences such as War of The Worlds (also by co-writer Nelson).  In 2006 they won publisher of the year in Wizard Magazine’s popular industry awards.  A definite plus is that they are distributing their product with a reliability rarely seen from an independent comic company, whose fans are often faced with extended and frustrating delays.

There’s an obvious cinematic feel to this Cosby and Nelson series.  Cosby has an extensive television pedigree with notable credits from UPN’s Haunted and Sci-Fi network’s Eureka to his name; X Isle‘s most obvious inspiration is from Haunted leading man Matthew Foxe’s latest series, Lost.

Dr. Alex Carter leads an expedition investigating the emergence of a species that could be traced back to the Triassic period.  Their ship, The Victoria, is destroyed as a result of an electrical storm, and the crew are washed up on an island where strange things are occurring. They are swiftly faced with a life and death situation that they must escape.

So far so Lost, however while no “Dharma initiative”, there’s a sufficient amount of strangeness—deformed monsters, aggressive vegetations and my particular favourite: mutant monkeys.  As one of our heroes remarks, “Wow, that’s one angry little plant monkey.”

It’s got a faster pace than Lost and a tighter set of characters including the doctor and his aforementioned daughter, associated expedition staff and the ship’s crew.  There are a lot of tensions in this group (father and daughter, ship crew and everyone else) which the writers adeptly handle. In fact, readers can also have fun with the characters by comparing them to the films they remind you of in both character or look (Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Deep Blue Sea come to mind). And while a fair amount of horror is evident, the tone is never quite serious enough to be fully considered in that genre.

Three issues in and Gregg Scott’s art is good, creating the moody atmosphere of their plight, and special mention goes also to the excellent painted covers from Imaginary Friends Studio. 

My real concern is the comic only has an initial five issue run which would really restrict the story evolving into something more original than its obvious comparisons.  Here’s hoping it will be the first of a story arc and BOOM! will give this promising title a chance to return.

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