Echolands #1 is a fantasy comic co-created by J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, published by Image Comics. The comic is written by both creators, with art by Williams. The colourist is Dave Stewart, and the letters are by Todd Klein. This is a brand new series that demands attention, so here are four reasons why you should check it out.
1) The Story is Captivating
In a futuristic world, when anything seems possible is a thief named Hope. Wearing a red cloak and possessing mysterious abilities, Hope is fearless and ambitious. But she chooses to steal from the most powerful wizard in the land, putting her and her crew in the crosshairs of him and his terrifying daughter.
The scale of this issue hints at the start of an epic adventure. This world is fascinating and enormous, and full of mystery. It is a mix of cultures and histories taped to each other, with elements of both fantasy, sci-fi, and history all leaving influences. But Williams and Blackman keep the scale of the story small within the first issue, following the protagonist to provide details when needed. The pacing is fast and exciting, with elements of horror and action providing moments of powerful suspense. There are twists on each page as the rules and capabilities of this realm are explored, and the writers drop an enormous surprise on the final page.
2) The Characters are Intriguing
The characters are superbly introduced. Take the protagonist of Echolands #1, for example, named Hope Redhood. She is mischievous and cocky, evidently prone to trouble. The reader understands quickly that Hope’s lack of fear will put her in danger. But there is also much more to discover about the lead character, and we are eager to find out more.
The mismatched nature of the landscape matches that of the denizens inside it. They range from fantasy creatures to figures from history, such as cowboys. This adds unpredictability towards who else may introduce themselves as the series continues. The dialogue added by Williams and Blackman ranges from terrifying to oddly hilarious. Swearing is common in conversations, and some of the exclamations are surprising and may elicit a giggle.
3) The World is Fascinating
If the story isn’t captivating enough, then the stunning art surely will. Williams captures this brand new world superbly. Each page is brimming with detail. All of the different pieces added to each building are rendered with a slightly different style, making them stick out against the thing next to it. The objects that can be seen are utterly bizarre. Bits of ancient Egypt are placed next to a mascot statue from a burger restaurant next to a giant robot head, like a junkyard for culture. The art style alters slightly numerous other times, in particular when magic is used. One page is a terrifying combination of surrealism and body horror.
There is texture on every surface, every fabric, every person. Hope has this gorgeous, flowing red dress that would make Little Red Riding Hood jealous. You can see the time that Williams spent on every millimeter of this comic. The readers’ eyes scan everywhere, looking for tiny references like it’s a Where’s Waldo book. There are times when the sheer number of lines on the page may cause it to be overcrowded, but this is intentional. The world is supposed to be bustling and busy.
Even the layout of this comic is unique. Echolands #1 is presented in landscape. This makes the panels so much bigger, and Williams uses all of it. The comic reads differently than others due to this change of format, playing out like a tapestry.
4) The Colours are Stunning
The colours are jaw-dropping, matching the complexity of the line art perfectly. For all of the colours on the page, there is no red. Except for one place; Hope’s cloak. The red that Stewart uses is gorgeous and rich, filled with numerous shades of red. The colours blend with the different textures well, adding some of their own. Cor, one of Hope’s crew, has flecks of grey mixed in with the black of his bushy hair. But it is multiple tones of grey, adding a real sense of dimension to his look. When the style of the art changes, so does the colours, and this adaptability makes the comic shine.
Echolands #1 is a wonderful labour of love. The issue is a unique thing of beauty, with a world just waiting to be explored. The characters have just as much strength as their surroundings, and the plot has the grit to keep the story grounded. The art is an adventure in itself, and the random nature of what is to come is full of exciting possibilities. This is a brand new and delightful fantasy series that is unique in every aspect and deserves every reader it can get.
Echolands #1 is available now wherever comics are sold August 25, 2021.
Echolands #1 is stunning labor of love. The issue is a unique thing of beauty, with a world just waiting to be explored. The characters have just as much strength as their surroundings, and the plot has the grit to keep the story grounded. The art is an adventure in itself, and the random nature of what is to come is full of exciting possibilities.
Screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”