This is more than a review. This is a proclamation to the comic industry that a new player has entered the scene. By the looks of things these guys and gals are going to be kicking major ass for years to come. This review may get a bit windy, but I have a few things I want to say about Vault and one of their premiere titles Fissure.
For those of you who are reading this and thinking to yourself, “Who in the hell is Vault?” Well allow me to introduce you to your new best friend in the comic business; a publisher that is focusing in on Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that have been sorely overlooked during the last decade. They are taking the time to do their books right and I couldn’t be happier. It is such a breath of fresh air in the business of comics to see someone put some effort into their creations when it comes to launching a new title, series, or even company.
The story inside Fissure is at first glance a simplistic one. A strange crack has appeared in the deserts of southern Texas, running parallel to a wall that has been built between us and Mexico. This unexplained canyon continues to gobble up earth as it splits the small border town of El Sueno in two. This community is already racially divided between natural-born American citizens and Mexican immigrants. It’s here that the issue and the series works its magic.
A racial divide may be a little too on the nose for some. But it’s what comes out at night from the fog that the fissure releases that is truly bizarre. It is unexplained in the series thus far, but in the night the fog enters people’s homes and for reasons yet to be explained causes them to see their dead loved ones.
Is this a direct path to hell?
Is it the beginning of a demonic invasion?
Like all great comics, Fissure #1 leaves you with more questions than answers. You WANT to come back for the next issue. You NEED to.
The work that Tim Daniel has done here at the beginning of the series is beautiful. It takes no time at all to understand the setting, the characters, and the mood. Although I cannot read or speak Spanish I wasn’t thrown when the language was used in the story. The visuals and the rest of the plot help me discern what was being communicated; a very tricky narrative device that was pulled off effortlessly.
It’s easy to read into the subtext of this tale. The fissure itself is a natural disaster that is pulling this town apart, but it is also the story inside the community that reflects this phenomenon, as we watch the Mexican born, single mother, Avery Lee Olmos try to explain her love and relationship with White townie, Hark Wright. The love affair between these two has divided the town right down the middle, just like the fissure, but it’s also a tale of uneasy race relations, gender equality, and those who have and have not.
The Fissure represents our own bias. It’s the lack of understanding between humans because of our evaluations of one another based on skin color, sex, religion, etc. It’s the great divide that has caused more chaos than any good it will ever bring about. It’s about the personal separations we feel without loved ones and each other. The Fissure is as much inside the reader as it is in the story. We all fall victim to the void where we lose ourselves to the past, to fear of the unknown. It’s here in this first installment from Vault that a parable of modern America takes shape.
The artwork from Patricio Delpeche is flawless in this debut issue. With a style that reminds me off Scott Kolins (artist on Flash, the Avengers) this doesn’t have the traditional look and feel of a small Indie comic. This is a work of art that can sit proudly on the shelf next to any other mainstream title and hold its own. Delpeche brings the thunder in a big bad way toward the end of the issue when the fissure starts to mess with the townsfolk. It is pure joy to look at those pages; very well executed.
I have to say that Vault is a company that I am going to keep a very sharp eye on in the coming months. The creators that make up this publishing brand are talented and serious about the medium. There is no amateur vibe here. They are coming out of the gate looking as professional and polished as possible. I really respect that. Often as a reviewer I left wanting to see quality over quantity when it comes to start-up brands, but here the quality is apparent the second you open the book. This book wasn’t “made” it was crafted; finely crafted, like a work of art should be.
This is the start of something special, perhaps not this exact title; but this company. There is too much care and execution being placed into the final product to just be one time effort. I expect that in a few short years we will all be talking about Vault. This is what a winner looks like in small publishing folks. Go get your copy today and let your friends know that this is the beginning of the next wave of independent publishing. I’d bet my career on it.
Final Score: 5 Stars
Story: Tim Daniel
Art and Colors: Patricio Delpeche
Letters: Deron Bennett
Publisher: Vault Comics
Diamond Order Code: DEC161518