The Few #1 Advance Review by Max Mallet
Story: Sean Lewis
Art: Hayden Sherman
“All that’s left are survivors.”
Playwright Sean Lewis (Saints) and rising artist Hayden Sherman join on a new post-apocalyptic series for Image. The Few #1 is something of a love letter to Mad Max. It takes place in a future where water is power and warlords reign in blood. However, this story falls short of the iconic franchise that it’s emulating.
Lewis introduces The Few by shadowing Edan Hale, who is evading seemingly hostile pursuers — with a baby in her arms. This will surely catch the attention of any other Image fans who have read Saga, and it does a pretty good job of ensnaring the reader’s attention. Yet, Lewis’s storytelling is structurally inconsistent, and this is the book’s achilles heel.
Before the story begins, there’s a page displaying a map of the United States. The map signifies what states are controlled by ‘The Palace’ and where there’s clean water. However, we the readers earn virtually no backstory as to how the United States of America became the Remainder States of America. Not a single character mentions anything about water in the entire story. Furthermore, when we come across a warlord named Herrod (probably a nod to the tyrannical Herod the Great) he mentions a desire for hurting ‘The Republic.’ This is probably a reference to The Palace, but the inconsistency of terms and lack of clarity creates confusion. Overall, gaps in context really hurts the storytelling in this first issue.
Artwork, perhaps even more than storytelling, is incredibly subjective and at the mercy of the reader. Sherman’s pencilling is very scratchy, making the art feel somewhat abrasive. While this compliments a story in a harsh climate (literally and figuratively) his characters are blocky and hard to distinguish from one another at a distance. Unlike Jason Latour’s work on Southern Bastards, where the color red dominates the visual landscape, Sherman uses red only as an accent to otherwise colorless pages. Aside from red, the only other color that Sherman introduces is a forrest-green at issue’s end. This offers a glimmering feeling of hope in an otherwise bleak comic. There are few visible faces in the entire story, giving Sherman’s artwork a dehumanizing affect on many characters.
Verdict: Skip. It’s hard to say that about a first issue, especially because these creators are new to the industry. However, many comics on the stands accomplish what The Few is trying to. A post-apocalyptic story has to stand out in the crowd to make it onto a reader’s pull list, and some great comics already dominate that space. The Few features little context, a forgettable protagonist and likely-divisive art. You can look elsewhere to satisfy your itch for a comic about a war-torn, dismal future.