Native Lands starts pretty much like a monologue book, through which we get a minor understanding of what happened, why are the character where they are and of course their motivation. It seems that after people started dying, a disparate group of people were found to be “gifted”. For gifted read, mutant, meta-human whichever phrase takes your fancy. Those that are found to be gifted are tested in labs and eventually, by the end of issue one, sent off to colonise a strange new world.
As a starting point, issue one pretty much does it’s job. We are introduced to a number of characters and abilities, some of which may be familiar to long time comic book readers. I guess with the amount of merry mutants that are rounding around, it is hard to find a truly original super power. James Cavanagh does ok with the script even if at times some of the characters seem stereotypical, the evil doctor in charge of the testing facility for example and the odd expletive. The plot moves along nicely even if on first glance, it may be slightly confusing which part is flashback and which is present day.
Cecilia Latella is on art and inks and for the most part is ok. Looking at the panels and the actions within them, there seems a lack of dynamism which is all well and good for the slower parts of the book, but the action parts tend to suffer. Latella seems more comfortable with the quiet panels, which show the characters in contemplation; from these you do get the sense that, in one particular case, there is an internal battle going on.
On the whole, this is an ok start to proceedings. There are a variety of influences on show, most notably for me, Blakes 7 with its criminals being sent on ship, and perhaps The 100. This may be happenstance or I may be reading to much into it. First issues are always tricky thing to score. At this point, you don’t really know the characters, with the writer hoping that one of them grabs your attention and the artist knowing that this work was done so many months ago, with the work that will follow hopefully improving. As such, this book is by no means the complete article. There is enough to whet the appetite and I am sure that those curious about the fate of the gifted will follow the series.