To the Extremity
Written by: Daniel Warren Johnson
Art by: Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 1, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by: Repairman Jack
With the promise of a mix between Studio Ghibli and Mad Max, Extremity is already setting a high bar for itself. Add to it a somewhat waning genre of futuristic sci-fi fantasy and I was a little hesitant. Everything this book is throwing out there really has my attention, it’s all in whether it pays off or if it relies too heavily on those styles and tropes to really forge something itself. So click through to the review to see how I thought the first issue held up.
One thing I didn’t expect coming into this book is its ties with art within the universe it’s creating. We get a main character described to be the greatest artist in their clan and not only does it set a self-described definition for the character, but the way it describes it really makes me think the aspect of art is really important within the universe. It describes her talent as not just being known by her clan but of all the “floating plains”. Just as quickly as that art is set up though, it is ripped from the character.
With an attack from an enemy clan, our main character, Thea loses her mother and her right hand. Her drawing hand. We skip in time to find Thea, now with a fumbling mechanical forearm and hand, attempting to scratch away with her left hand before she gives up and throws her art book in anger. We then meet her brother who has with him a handy book of world-building but it’s not too long before the two are interrupted by their father and a band of warriors, and they’re told to gather their weapons.
From here with get a few pages of some nice details. Right away we’re subtly told that Thea is the one who has been training for her revenge and seeking it out heavily and her brother is worried he might not be ready on top of him being the one to equip Thea’s ride for her mission. It can come off a little heavy handed right after we’re told about the brother’s book, but it’s done in such a small way I can really appreciate it. The aspect of him being ready or not does get a little heavy handed by the end of the issue but it’s done in service of the main character so it’s not naught.
Before we go farther, I just have to say we meet a character with a Hawk who keeps food for it under his eyepatch and he may just be my favorite character of 2017 and he barely had 2 lines. He just makes an awesome appearance.
Abba Jerome, Thea’s father, goes on to dawn what can only be described as an Immortan Joe inspired bone mask as he leads his men to battle. We then skip to another display that makes me think art is very important in this universe. We get a Paznina(the enemy clan) General repeatedly asked to play his music as he refuses due to not having the proper atmosphere of a great battle. He finally succumbs to the requests to only have one of the accompanying women cry from his display. Not only does he normally play his music in the throws of battle, but it brings a witness to tears. I’m really liking the ties this book is making to the arts and their value within the world.
With Thea succeeding in her own solo Death Star Run, the rest of her clan are free to ram the Paznina War Machine and start causing some serious havoc. It’s here where the book goes on to display some of it’s most gruesome and heinous art. The gruesome and wild scene is not lost on our main hero though as she is brought to her knees heaving after saving her brother. She is not affected long though, before she rises up to join her claim as they proclaim victory.
We next get an even more indicative instance of art being far more important in this world. We get a culmination of a lot of things set up in this book, we get the father seeking his trophy, the son succumbing to his fate as not the leader his father expects him to be and we get Thea exacting her revenge on a man who was not the culprit of her lost hand, but who played gleefully as it happened. Thea takes some of her revenge from another person who is defined by their art and she takes it in the way they did hers, and it comes off as brutal.
All together I really liked this first issue. I came in not knowing what to expect and it blew me away by an aspect I didn’t see coming. The Mad Max theming seems a little too borrowed from in some ways, but I can always do with some more Mad Max’ness if it is used in a complementary way and not relied on too heavily throughout. The gruesomeness gave me a Berserk feel to it in a cartoonish but effective way. Berserk always had a way of over the top gruesomeness lending a soft and realistic quality to the people around it and I feel that contrast really comes across well here too. This first issue really sets off running and I’m really excited to keep reading.
Bits and Pieces:
I really couldn’t ask for much more from this series debut. We get gruesome over the top action and gore contrasted by a sentimental drive for revenge. We get some peaks at some amazing characters and little hints to some world building. At times there is a little too much borrowing of other IP’s, but beyond that I loved every second of this first issue.