Eliteware is a self-published science fiction comic book which takes place 600 years in our future. Eliteware Vol. 1 collects issues number one through six. Created and written by Mike DeCosta, Eliteware Vol. 1 features pencils from Jim Hanna in issue number one, with Eryn Williams serving as penciler, inker, and letter for issues number two through four and pencils and inks for issues five and six, and Eliana Falcon serving as colorist for all six issues, and finally lettering for issues five and six by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.
One of the exciting things about this title is that Eliteware is set to be a futuristic comic that aims to reflect our reality today. The series tells the story of the Neva family, and through their story, we explore the dynamics between classes in this new society, between this family of arena fighters against the control of the Elite class. We see them fight to survive, to win, and for revenge.
Having almost lost the patriarch of their family, Wil Neva, the family enters into a contract the mysterious and powerful Ketta. With their parents being arena champions, Diviran and Tiya are headed for that life themselves to pay back their debt to Ketta and Foth Cordova, two Elites pulling the strings, holding the Neva family’s life in their hands. As the family is separated, Diviran is taken to Foth Cordova, eventually betraying his contract and Tiya becomes one of the most prized arena champions and Ketta’s hired gun.
The story follows Tiya as she attempts to be reunited with her brother, conspiring with her father to do so. It also follows Diviran as he escapes captivity and attempts to rescue their mother, altering his body and breaking into a facility. Their ability in battle is unmatched but it’s their dynamic as a family that truly defines them. Without giving too much away, every bit of DeCosta’s dialogue is differentiated, with no interaction feeling repetitive and their familial bonds feel authentic.
That being said there are some pacing issues that leave me trying to construct a timeline in my head as the narrative jumps around quickly from one place to another. This was pronounced when I reviewed the single issues but is helped greatly by being in a collected volume. The ability to read this arc in its entirety eases the pacing issues and DeCosta’s writing is too good to miss.
While the front half of the volume is focused on set up, the back half is focused on action and it’s something to see. While the stark art style shift from issue one to the rest of the book is jarring, as I brought up in my review of the single issues, William’s artwork comes into its own during the fights. While her style offers little detail, making some scenes feel a little disconnected from emotion, the style is perfect for action.
In fact, the panel featured at the top of this review is my favorite of the volume and rivals action moments in any comic produced from any company this year. This is due to the illustration but it’s taken to the next level with the colors from Falcon that are a neon dream etched into a black background.
While I would have liked more detail, to feel more emotion from the characters, the art is beautiful in the close-ups and the impact is felt with the powerful images of women like our villain, Mercy, and our main character, Tiya, who look strong and determined
In addition, many science fiction fans call for more representation in the genre, and while it’s easy to target large franchises, every now and then a comic like Eliteware Vol. 1 comes out and we would be remiss to not support it. As a series, it and its creator DeCosta has dedicated the story to reflecting people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ characters at the center of the narrative, while also having a creative team that reflects that diversity. As the story unfolds, we will see that the Elite control everything and what happens when people push back.
Overall, this series is good, really good. While there are some hiccups, the story propels you into the world of Eliteware Vol. 1 and makes you want to stay. I’m tied into the Neva family and I can’t wait to understand them more and watch them take down the Elites.
If you would like to support Eliteware, head on over to the Kickstarter
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.