Warren Ellis pitched Cemetery Beach as an all-out action story as a pallet cleanser after he and Jason Howard’s earlier series Trees. (A title I enjoyed that is supposed to be coming back shortly.) Cemetery Beach delivers on that promise. Structures like a dungeon crawl through an alien world, there aren't a lot of info-dumps in Ellis’ usual style.
Instead, Howard takes center stage here with some intensely kinetic artwork as the story follows a pathfinder from Earth on a supposedly failed colony full of insane leaders exploiting the poor. Terrified that a dispatch from Earth means an end to their reign, they decide to kill Mike who manages just barely to escape with a dissident, Grace.
Their journey goes through different zones as various members of the colony’s police and military chase them. It gives the story a bit of a video game feel, but it works with the constant car chase structure. There isn't a lot of time to catch your breath. The trade is a breezy read, and I managed to get through it in just a couple of hours.
For what amounts to a pallet cleanser between talky sci-fi, this is an engaging story. Ellis manages these little self-contained miniseries really well. We get just enough of the history and mythology to make the world feel lived in, but not so much that the structure creaks under exposition dumps.
Howard manages to pack tons of detail into every panel, even if we’re mostly following explosions and our heroes dodging them. The various despots that run the colony are uniquely grotesque depictions of decadent weirdos. His style gives the entire world this retro-futuristic feel, giving a lot of texture and world-building without the need for massive info dumps.
If you are looking for an action comic with a sci-fi bend, check this out.
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