Written by: Kyle Higgins and Alex Siegel
Art by: Rod Reis
I had no idea what I would be reading when I opened Hadrian’s Wall #1. I basically picked it to review since it was the start of a new series for Image comics and it had a cool name and cover. I opened to an introduction page which explains that in the year 2085, a new cold war between Earth and Earth’s largest colony is ready to turn hot. Immediately after that, we see the somewhat gruesome death of an astronaut as his face-plate implodes. The rest of this issue is set up for the first arc. We are introduced to Simon, our protagonist, a pill-popping investigator, who is hired by Marshall (maybe an old friend?), a representative of the Antares Corporation, to do a “rubber-stamp” investigation of the dead astronaut. We also meet Annabelle, Simon’s ex-wife and widow to the astronaut. Simon goes to the space-ship “Hadrian’s Wall” to begin his investigation, and as he does, we learn that things might not be as they seem on the ship.
Hadrian’s Wall #1 was a decent first issue. It’s a sci-fi whodunit story on a spaceship with potential to become a really cool space-opera epic. It features characters who, despite seeming on the surface to be by-the-mold fiction archetypes (the flawed detective, the soulless corporate executive, and the spiteful ex-wife), ring true and hint at a deeper complexity. My only issue is that the synopsis on the introduction page is the only indication of the cold-war that we are told is happening. While the characters seem to know (or suspect) that there is some deeper meaning behind the astronaut’s death and the subsequent investigation, we, the reader don’t feel the stakes. Hopefully Higgins and Siegel can telegraph that better as the story arc progresses. The art throughout the issue is fantastic and a perfect match for the tone the story is going for.
I will definitely continue to read Hadrian’s Wall. The dialogue is good, and while the story in this issue isn’t exactly mind-blowing, it sets up what could be a really good story in an interesting universe, and the art is really, really perfect for the tale being told. I hesitate to give this story an overall rating since it’s an introduction to both the story arc and the universe, and I think it will seem much better in retrospect once the arc progresses. I’d definitely recommend this book to any sci-fi fans and anyone who loves great art on a comic.