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title: shipwreck
writer: warren ellis
artist: phil hester
inker: eric gapstur
colourist: mark englert
letterer: marshall dillon
genre: science fiction, dystopia
content warnings: death, violence, blood, gore
my rating: do not recommended

shipwreck is not a comic i would have read without prompting. the reason i did read it is that my job has a kind of book club that we call the comics circle, which we help two of our regulars host. i am the one from my job connected to it, who reads the comics and goes to the meetings. i like it, it’s lots of fun and it gets me to read new things. this time, the comic we’re discussing is shipwreck.

it’s about a man called dr. shipwright, who was involved with a secret military project to scout a parallel earth in the hopes to find somewhere to move the human population in the case of natural disaster. something goes wrong during the first trip over, though, and dr. shipwright and another man called isham are the only members of the team to survive. the reason shipwright survives is that he has a smaller version of the transportation technology implanted in him, letting him teleport smaller distances. the reason isham survives is that he was an infiltrator, from this parallel earth, sent to sabotage the mission.

all of this is backstory, told through flashbacks. in current time shipwright is walking this foreign earth, trying to find isham to get revenge, and looking for a way home.

i was a bit wary going in, because i’d never read warren ellis before but i’d heard that most things he writes is just lots of over the top sex and violence. he has his fanboys who love everything he writes, but that he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. i felt that that description fit this comic partially. there was violence and blood and gore, as i expected, at times it did fit but often it just felt unnecessary. at one point in the beginning shipwright walks in on a woman who has murdered her boyfriend and is now cooking parts of him because he was going to leave to go study somewhere. she does a lot of talking with no prompting, tries to kill shipwright, and then gets accidentally impaled through the head. the whole ting takes up six pages and has literally nothing to do with anything.

i didn’t feel like much really happened. shipwright walked around, met people, had strange conversations where various characters had long monologues about nothing, and then he continued on and did the whole thing over again. the strangely monologues-y conversations struck me as very unnatural and stilted. it happened several times, where two characters would exchange a few sentences and then one of them would get a whole page where they babbled on about something and once that page was over the conversation would abruptly stop and they moved on. at the very end everything happened at once, and then suddenly the story was over.

don’t get me wrong, slow stories that build up to a big ending are often really good, but i just found this one very strangely paced and somehow really dry. somehow it 100% felt like the comic a group of ””””edgy”””” men would create. literally the only woman in the credits is elizabeth torque, who did one of the variant covers.

there were two things i did really like, though. the colouring and how the pages were built. how the individual pages were coloured was just beautiful and fit perfectly, so good on you, mark englert. and while i didn’t like the actual art style at all, i loved how phil hester worked with panels and using the whole page to tell the visual story.

as a whole, i wouldn’t recommend this to someone with my tastes. i can see how someone different from me might enjoy it, someone who likes the gritty art and how nothing is really explained, but it wasn’t for me.


normally i wouldn’t have reviewed shipwreck, as i don’t like to waste time on things i didn’t really enjoy, but i want to review everything i read for #mythothon (and this also helped me sort through my opinions so i can discuss in during the comics circle today). regardless, i hope you enjoyed this and maybe it’ll help you determine if shipwreck is for you or not!

i read this for the dionysos, god of wine, prompt – celebrate this year by reading a 2018 release. initially i was going to read the night masquerade by nnedi okorafor, but i needed to read this for work and wanted it to count towards my goal of getting a bingo in #mythothon so i swapped them.

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