Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Skin & Earth #1 Review

Skin & Earth #1 from Dynamite

      In the not-too-distant future, mankind has nearly consumed all of the Earth's resources and ruined much of our planetary home in the process. Yet, still, they dig further and further into the world's crust and recruit young minds in University to help continue their relentless rape of the planet. Not many habitable areas are left - but one such habitable place is a futuristic paradise called the Oasis, and Tempest is the powerful corporation that runs both it and Tempest University, a bastion of higher learning...For those that can afford it. En Jin is a student there, but she is not like all the rest. She is an outsider from the contaminated Red Sector, a vast, and still growing, area to which the poor and undesirables are relegated - a toxic mess caused my human pollution and drilling. She is alone, treated like a plague by the other students and inhabitants of the Oasis; she is rejected by all but one: an enigmatic young man called Priest. He teaches her love, desperation, and courage...But who is he really? What does the strange tattoo that he gave her mean? And where has he gone?

    Canadian music artist, Lights, makes her first foray into comics with this melancholy sci-fi love story, Skin & Earth. En Jin is a very moving protagonist, a bit angsty, a bit lost, very vulnerable, but still striving to find her dream, and keep the promise she made to her deceased mother. She's walking through a world where she is marginalized, rejected, maltreated and looked down upon - it only makes sense that she would cling to someone who shows her love and yet is in the unique position of representing the same part of privileged society that disapproves of her. In Priest, she finds love, and acceptance from him and by extension, his privileged group. But he's so enigmatic, so flighty, so mysterious. She can't quite hold onto him - her desperation is totally understandable, touching, and just a bit pathetic. She is a very complex, fleshed-out character - very human. The protagonist is quite captivating, even though this narrative feels much like so many of the other melancholic dystopian tales that teens and young people have been devouring the past few years; yet, it does have an especially strong human story. I really couldn't help but be enraptured by the emotionality of En Jin's journey, even though I'm not really quite sure exactly what the point of it all is just yet. Light's artwork is quirky, simple and expressive - as much as her pencils reveal her lack of polish, they reveal even more the depth of her commitment and emotional attachment to the story. Sure, Skin & Earth may just be a companion comic to accompany/publicize the release of her new album, but it honestly feels like a lot more than that. This type of lovey-dovey tale is usually not my cup of tea, but I think I'll stay with this one a few issues to see where it's headed. I dig it, man.

RATING: 9 out of 10. 

Extras - Here is the teaser that Lights made for the comic:

Here is Lights' video, "Skydiving" (She's cute, innit?):

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