REVIEW: Pisces #1

Pisces #1
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art and cover by Johnnie Christmas
Published by Image/Shadowline

Having recently finished reading the full run of Sheltered, and being a huge fan of Johnnie Christmas’ work, I was genuinely excited to see what Pisces had to offer, and with Rat Queens scribe Kurtis J. Wiebe writing, this book was bound to be great, right?

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, no, he hates it,” but let’s not jump to conclusions. Here’s the synopsis for Pisces #1 from the solicitations:

Former fighter pilot Dillon Carpenter found everything he wanted when he returned from the Vietnam War. A loving partner, a dream career training with NASA to travel through space, and soon, he will learn, a prime candidacy for a secret mission, one that will forever change the world: First Contact. But as Dillon prepares, his war trauma returns and he’s haunted by dark visions of his future. There is but one constant; the voice whispering from the stars. A sci-fi psychological body horror series from the writer of RAT QUEENS and the artist of SHELTERED.

Ever since I first heard about this book a few months back I was excited not just because of the creative team, but because the solicitation read like something out of a sci-fi wet dream. Unfortunately, the first issue of the series didn’t quiet live up to the picture which the paragraph above had painted in my mind and that was a bit of a let-down, but when I was done reading, I didn’t really care because this is a terrific first issue.

Pisces-01-05-15243Granted, when I reached the last page I was more confused than when I came in as the book jumps through various points in Dillon Carpenter’s life without explanation, but unlike many books which often fail to give readers a clue to the change, the time jumps are nicely accentuated by Tamra Bonvillain amazing color work, particularly towards the end of the issue as multiple flashbacks (or flashforwards?) come together on the same page.

The story is definitely interesting and has some very interesting deeply psychological undertones which reminds me a bit of Matt Kindt’s Divinity currently being published over at Valiant. Ultimately, the two stories may share more similarities as Pisces progresses and that has me excited, as the aforementioned Divinity has been a terrific character exploration with some fascinating insights into the human psyche. Wiebe has done incredible work on Rat Queens so I have no doubt that as this series progresses, more will be revealed and the events of this first issue will make sense.

What really sells the emotion of this book is Johnnie Christmas’ art which is strong and powerful from the first to the last panel. The story is very surreal and Christmas’ highly dynamic action panels and polished pencil work at a perfect fit for this book. You can literally feel as Dillon is being pounded to the ground at the beginning of the book or when he witnessed first hand (and quite graphically) when his friend’s face is slit open and killed before his eyes. Many artists today have the talent to pull this off, but not many with the effortlessness which Christmas seems to convey it.

Overall, Pisces #1 is a terrific inaugural issue with an intriguing story and fantastic art. If you go into this book with the solicitation in mind you may be surprised with what you find inside, but this book has strong potential to be one of the best new series of 2015 so pick it up!

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