Introduction:Amaranth is a distant mining planet on the outskirts of The Union, the vast alliance of human and alien planets across the known universe. A highly specialized team of investigators have travelled far from home to look into seven deaths on this dirthole filled with deadly acid rain, razor sharp plant life, and the enigmatic and isolated indigenous creatures known as the Joppa and Elohi. The team doesn’t know why they have been called to Amaranth as most cases of death go unnoticed on the mining planet. It would seem that much more is going on beneath the surface of this haven for criminals and the downtrodden in what could be a situation bigger than they can all imagine or be prepared to deal with.
VitalsTitle: Storm Dogs #1-2
Creators: David Hine and Doug Braithwaite
Writer: David Hine
Artist: Doug Braithwaite
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Content: Storm Dogs is for mature readers and contains graphic violene, nudity, and adult situations.
Publisher: Image Comics
Story:The first two issues of Storm Dogs set the stage and introduce us to the cast of characters and the highly unusual alien planet of Amaranth. This is a vast and rich science fiction mystery thriller that really sucks you in from the beginning. Hine and Braithwaite accomplish a lot in that first issue and do a great job of giving you a good feel for the setting, both in the technologically advanced Union and in the highly different alien planet of Amaranth.
The highly advanced computers and nanotechnology make normal investigations a breeze, but the team has no access on this planet as the treaties with the indigenous life forbid certain levels of technology. The team is completely cut off from civilization and must use their skill sets to solve this puzzle.
Things begin to unravel and the mystery deepens when outlawed tech is discovered being used on Amaranth and their investigation is hampered with. More bodies begin to pile up and their treaty with the alien lifeforms could blow up at a moments notice. The team begins to realize that there is a bigger game happening around them, but they are determined to finish their mission and discover what is behind these seeming unconnected murders.
Review:I really enjoyed a lot of the futuristic ideas that Hine brought into the story. The concept of the Weave was a really great projection of where the Internet is heading, where everyone is connected to a vast internet via computers in their brain and people can stay connected to each other over massive distances. The picture is almost a scary one as Hine brings up the concept of how people will come to depend on that connection and will become highly discombobulated when they are disconnected to the Weave as the team of specialists is finding out. It is an interesting comparison that some can feel even today when they are forced to go without access to their smartphones, computers, and internet access. The Weave is a whole progression forward in that concept as people are immersed in it with every breath and walking step they take.
Hine also does a great job of sucking us in to this vast new universe and keeping our attention through the unraveling mystery as to why the team is really there, what is going on with these string of murders and what the big reveal will be. So far, Hine has done a great job of revealing just enough each issue to keep my attention and tantalized for more. With only four more issues, I hope the end and subsequent revelations will be worth it. If the first two issues is any indication, then we will be in for a great surprise.
There were some very nice things with the art that I enjoyed. The coloring was excellent and I enjoyed Braithwaite's attention to detail and design. It looks like he went for a style that went a little light on the inking and used the pencils to convey most of the depth and this worked in most cases, but the faces ended up being a bit sketchy and unpolished sometimes. I think as an overall package it works well with the kind of hard sci-fi story that this is, but there was more than one instance where the face of a character looked a little off because of it.