THE WARNING #1 by Ed Lorache and colored by Brad Simpson
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
THE WARNING #1 is the perfect introduction to an atmospheric, gritty science-fiction series.
83 %
A GREAT START
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THE WARNING is Image Comics’ sci-fi military series, created by Edward Laroche with colors by Brad Simpson. Unlike films such as INDEPENDENCE DAY, this comic does its best to keep the “Man Vs. Aliens” story as grounded as possible. Whether or not the series as a whole will stick to this more serious approach is unclear, but the first issue seems to be keeping things between two straight lines. The result is a somber, mysterious introduction to the soldiers of the future.

We Are Not Alone

the warning cover
Image courtesy of Image Comics

An alien invasion has begun. A huge machine begins materializing somewhere in the middle of a major city. It’s unclear what they want, or even what they look like, but the United States has to put an end to their destruction. They put together an elite team of soldiers under the name Gladiator Two Six. Fitted with the latest weaponry and pumped up with combat-enhancing drugs, they dive headfirst into into the chaos, uncertain of what their enemy has in store.

THE WARNING has a cinematic quality in its writing. Like most modern war films and TV shows, THE WARNING has a lot of military jargon to make the setting seem more realistic. As someone whose knowledge of military codes begins and ends with Metal Gear, I would say it works. Laroche makes it very clear that these soldiers have experience. It will be interesting to see how the soldiers react to the aliens once they actually make contact.

THE WARNING #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

Unless I missed something, it seems the narrator of the comic doesn’t have a name. At least, not yet. However, what he does have is an inner monologue with himself about a bee, and whether or not this bee could have been somebody in a past life. He wonders if that bee was a good person, or even if he knew who it was. All this culminates in his realization that everyone, at one point, was a good person, even him. This seems to hint that the men of Gladiator Two Six sacrificed some of their humanity to become better soldiers.

THE WARNING #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

The Front Lines

Like the writing, the art style takes a very realistic approach. The characters, vehicles, and backgrounds are given just enough detail to make them look true to life without looking traced. The character designs also helps to maintain the down-to-earth atmosphere of THE WARNING. The soldiers aren’t drawn like Superman. The women aren’t drawn like supermodels. Everyone just looks like an average schmoe. Edward Laroche even gives a little bit of extra care to the backgrounds. Actual photographs are used on the computer monitors for some scenes, but they don’t feel out of place. That’s how good everything looks.

THE WARNING #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

An underrated aspect of comic book art is the use of angles. How you position your characters is just as important as how you draw them. Laroche clearly used his experience as a storyboard artist here. The upward angle of the main solider makes him look strong and heroic. The closeups of a doctor’s face and hands as she lines up some coke juxtaposed with wide angles of her empty room highlights her anti-social attitude. Even little touches, such as giving the backgrounds a little bit of blur, makes the story look like its being seen through a camera.

However, the artwork wouldn’t be nearly as visceral if it weren’t for the colors. Brad Simpson makes sure every panel is colored exactly as if it were in a military/sci-fi film. The inside of control rooms are bluish-green, as the light from computer screens reflect off of walls and faces. The dark, rainy grounds of a base camp make it feel grim and cold. The interior of a sunny room feels cozy, yet melancholy, with beige taking up most of the color pallet.

Final Thoughts on THE WARNING #1

If you’re a fan of military dramas, high-concept science fiction, or both, you should absolutely check out THE WARNING #1. The only thing missing in the first issue is action. But when you put soldiers and aliens together, it’s only a matter of time. Pick up the first issue to begin the journey of Gladiator Two Six!

THE WARNING #1 hits shelves November 28th! Be sure to ask your local comic book store to hold it! But if digital is your thing, reserve a copy here! 

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