In today’s uber-sensitive world, it feel like it is getting harder to get along. Whether is be sexuality, politics or religion it seems that the loudest voices heard are those of our lesser angels. Distrust, bigotry and outright hate all appear on the news at any given time. In fact, I am writing this review as reports of a suicide bomber at a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester UK, is on all the news channels. In this world, there are two viable options; try to all get along or walk the path of mutual destruction.
In Briggs Land, there is a third option. Briggs Land is nearly 100 square miles of rural wilderness owned and controlled by the Briggs family who have created a secessionist anti-government community. The story focuses on the Briggs family and how their own ideals apply in the modern world, where their own personal views sometimes feel at a odds to the ideals of the community. In issue one, Isaac and his nephew come across a couple of trespassers and a decision is made that leads to discussions and ultimately, confrontation.
Brian Wood is the author of the book, taking a simple idea and then adding layer upon layer in an effort to present a book that is as much a discussion starter as piece of entertainment. Throughout the book, there are questions about the US Constitution, about how could a community that wants to secede from the union still use the Constitution as a means of defense. Wood does well not to fall into “crazy vet” mode with Isaac who can been seen as the hero of the book. The impact of living such a life is explored through the eyes and actions of James.
The art is provided by Mark Chater who goes for a sense of realism that suits the book. When a story and art match each other well, the results can be outstanding. Here, the quiet wilderness creates an imposing lifestyle, a kind of hardship if you will, that is reflected by all the media at the start of the book. Chater doesn’t over cook the art in a way, instead going for and achieving a quietly competent, almost complimentary style. He is helped out immensely by the colors of Lee Loughridge who certainly gets a lot of use of the various shades of green. Seriously, Loughridge’s colors are stand out, presenting an almost imperceptible darkness to life in Briggs Land.
Briggs land is an interesting read, presenting as it does, a different way of life and potentially how a government would act towards such a viable case for secession. If America is truly the Land of the Free, why can’t a group secede? I do have questions about life in the New Land, how do they buy food? How do they pay for stuff? How does their economy work? How do they know about cell phones (mobile phones to us Brits)? These question are mentioned not as means to decry or debunk this book; they are asked as a sign of respect to a creative team who produced a book that has sincerely piqued my interest. I look forward to discovering the answers along with the further developments of this ongoing story.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Cover Artist: Matthew Woodson
On sale June 14, 2017