The Warning #1
Writer: Edward Laroche
Artist: Edward Laroche
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Jaymes Reed
Editor: Donald Hodges
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: November 28, 2018
Pulp Nation Rating: 9.5
Here’s a quick primer for The Warning #1:
Something is starting to build itself in the middle of a major metropolitan area on the West Coast. Nobody knows where it came from or why it’s there—except for some military eggheads who believe an alien invasion is imminent.
In an attempt to intercept and mitigate the threat, Gladiator Two-Six (a multinational combat brigade made up of super soldiers with geared with next-generation weapons and science) is deployed.
The Warning’s Script Keeps You on Your Toes
Edward Laroche’s The Warning #1 does not start off as I expected it, but that’s a good thing. When you read the promotion materials it highlights the high-concept of mankind’s reaction to the sudden materializing of an otherworldly building or machine preceding a potential alien invasion.
It’s fair to say you have expectations when picking up the book; say fast-paced, non-stop action until one side stands victorious—or less decimated.
And then you open the book: the protagonist Joshua (super soldier and member of Gladiator Two-Six) having an existential conversation (albeit, one-sided) with a bee about karmic balance.
Of course, I was hooked.
The script itself is a study of contrasts. To wit, thoughtfulness and introspection interspersed with dry—as in, realistic— peppering of medical/military jargon, and later on a little bit of exasperation and resignation when we meet Freya.
Laroche keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.
The Art is Hard to Let Go
Laroche does double duty as the artist on The Warning #1, but it’s “not a matter of freedom or a point of pride.” When your vision for your work is as specific as Laroche’s it’s impossible to hand off the pencils to someone else.
The sci-fi portion of the potential alien invasion story is grounded in Laroche’s pencils. Realistic in their imperfections and grittiness, each panel flows into one another nicely, giving The Warning an even cinematic pace. And the panel layouts on black pages was a perfect choice; the artwork and colors stand out in a way they might not have on white pages.
Speaking of colors, The Warning was initially supposed to be a black-and-white book, but when it was pitched, Image wanted to have it colorized. As a result, Laroche met Brad Simpson through a mutual friend, Joe Casey (both of MCMLXXV fame). Having not seen the original black-and-white, it’s impossible to make a comparison, but seeing the end result with Simpson’s colors, I’m glad they made the decision to add color.
Like the script, Simpson’s colors keep you on your toes and help ease the transition from one setting to the next. Seamlessly working with the Laroche’s artwork, the colors keep the story and setting of The Warning #1 grounded in reality.
Moving on to the letters!
Jaymes Reed’s letters expertly convey character tone and don’t get in the way of the art. As seamless as the art and color is in The Warning #1, so is the work or Reed.
Final Thoughts: The Warning #1
I love this book. It’s a book you should definitely pick up!
However, through all of this, we need to mention the largest misconception about this particular comic book. The Warning #1 is not high-concept.
High-concept is reserved for entertainment that revolves almost solely around the plot with little-to-no character or world development.
Image Comics and others promoted the book as a high-concept military sci-fi—which, excited me regardless—but after reading the book, you realize the incoming invasion feels like a backdrop to the real story. A story we haven’t quite uncovered yet.