Echolands # 1
There are many bizarre worlds that fill the pages of science fiction and fairy tales. They are full of destinations that are hardly imaginable and often inconceivable. But that is the point of these stories after all. To show how we scribes, mere mortals can take pieces and fragments and weave and weld them into one. The newest book from Image comics and co-creators J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman seems to be just that type of tale. So begins the journey into the Echolands.
Created and Written by: J. H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Art and Design by: J. H. Williams III
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Todd Klein
The story begins like something from Disney or Brother’s Grimm. The writers manage to do in a mere page what most fables take a chapter to accomplish. We fully grasp the two beats that have played out in the heroines life. We meet the young woman named Hope (clearly the popular comic baby girl name the past few years) who resides in a cottage with her parents. While this paints a loving picture it lasts but a moment as in the next sentence we discover that she has had to leave it all behind. Something called The Red has overtaken her. With what we later witness of this “ability” I can’t help but wonder as to her parents fate. For now all we know is that it has forced her from her home and into the weird location known as the Echolands.
What would it have been like if, instead of a rabbit hole, alice fell into a messy toybox or desk drawer. so many fragments are allowed to intermingle without losing their individuality.
Clearly Williams knows exactly what Echolands should look like. Along with Dave Stewart what is showcased in this opening issue is a sight to behold. Each image is colored (or not) and drawn authentically as it would in it’s original production. To call it a mash-up would be an understatement and underwhelming considering the detailed images in this comic. We get visuals of the famous San Francisco Wharf sign, a vampire about to tussle with Frankenstein’s monster, a early 19th century blimp and more. The weirdness of Echolands doesn’t end with who you might encounter. After stealing a gem from the Wizard, Hope along with Cor attempt to avoid capture. Passing by what I swear is a Headmaster Optimus Prime they discover an alley that was there a week ago is now a wall. Seems like the kind of thing you would expect in this type of place.
Even with it’s chaotic state, Echolands is not without some sense of order. We don’t actually meet the Wizard except via holoform and a brief interview he gives at the end of the issue. We know that it is his gem that Hope steals and his Coppers who pursue her to retrieve it. Whatever this place may be it seems that his “magic” may be the cause. Similar to Boy from Little Monsters the Wizard doesn’t want Hope or anyone messing with his toys.