Comic Review – Horizon #1

Review By Mike Perry

Published by Image Comics for Skybound Entertainment
Released July 13, 2016
Written by Brandon Thomas
Art by Juan Gedeon w/ Cover by Jason Howard
Colors by Frank Martin
Get it on Kindle or ComiXology

zhiatransformWhile not exactly a completely original concept (and what is these days), Brandon Thomas’ take on the “Earth is the invading force” alien invasion angle is fresh, unique, and worth checking out. It’s not so much because Thomas and his collaborators, artist Juan Gedeon and colorist Frank Martin, have successfully avoided the tropes that made such standards as Twilight Zone episode “The Invaders” timeless classics, but more because of the unique way in which the plot of Horizon unfolds and the characters that move the story along.

Earth in the not-so-distant future is a place where our home is nothing more than a dying rock. Its inhabitants are looking for a new place to call home. The leaders of Earth covertly target the planet Valius as their new home, and with this basic premise, Horizon gets off to a roaring start.

Our main character in issue #1 is Zhia Malen, a Valian who visits our planet, where she quickly zhiatranslatelearns that fresh water has reached pre-Iraq War gasoline prices and international conflict is the norm. It doesn’t take a literature degree to see the parallels to our world, as our environmental mismanagement and piss poor diplomatic skills have created a constant state of multi-theater global warfare.

Zhia has been sent to exact some revenge on the Earthlings, but in what capacity we’re not quite sure. What we do know is that she has a translator that seems to be malfunctioning, as Earth language often times comes out as complete gibberish. She is, however, able to use some of her tech to make herself appear human.

While not a lot is accomplished in this debut issue action-wise, it sets the tone for a slow build that will ultimately reach a rolling boil before eventually exploding into full on war. It’s a very neat concept, and the juxtaposition of a confused, disoriented, and frustrated yet clever and well-equipped female lead against our own planet turned heel is a fresh dynamic.

The pace is quick, almost distressingly frantic, as the pages turn quickly with very little dialogue to read. This helps to add to the isolated feeling that Zhia must be experiencing, and dovetails nicely with the echoes of previous “lost in space” epics like Alien or Metroid. There doesn’t need to be a lot of dialogue, because Zhia is essentially alone… For now.