Writer: Brandon Thomas / Artist: Juan Gedeon / Image Comics
I didn’t like this comic at first. It was the pacing – scenes took place in rapid succession followed by others where considerable time had past, so the pace felt inconsistent and it was difficult to find a groove. That was when I read it the first time. Then, reading it a second time, I was sold. I honestly read the last page, something clicked in my head, and I turned right back to the first page. The second read through of Horizon #1 turned me a full 180 degrees. This comic is pretty damn good.
At least so far. What we have is a pretty great concept: what if Earth invaded another planet? What if, after years of destroying our own home, we were technologically advanced to find a new one? What if we were the alien invaders? It’s a sobering mind-fuck to consider an idea that seems totally foreign – us as the bad guys? – yet altogether believable given the ecological chaos humans bring to our planet and our almost inherent arrogance of our right to do so. If we were capable, would Manifest Destiny not extend to the reaches of space as both justified and inevitable? Horizon is seemingly about those over whom we expanded and conquered – the Native Americans of space – and their quest to survive.
This first issue covers a lot of ground in both backstory and setting the emotional state of Zhia Malen, our protagonist, who crash lands on Earth having escaped her planet where we humans are wreaking havoc. She’s confused and disoriented most of the comic, alone in a foreign place as she tries, and eventually does, find her comrade in arms disguised as a human. The reader matches Zhia’s confusion for most of the issue and reaches clarity in the last few pages after Zhia has surgery to fix her ability to communicate clearly. And Zhia is pissed.
I expect from Horizon the same thing we got from Brian K. Vaughan’s We Stand On Guard as a chillingly honest look at imperialism as its worst, and how it looks when the villain is us. The artwork is great, and the pacing should become more comfortable after the opening exposition, and you can expect some great emotion from Zhia’s anger towards her invaders, love of her people, and desperation for their survival. This comic has enormous potential; I’m looking forward to seeing what Thomas does with it.