EI8HT #1 Masters Color and Time – Comic Review
The all-star artist Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) has brought his web comic Tune 8 to print in English under the title Ei8ht! Published by Dark Horse the new series focuses on a time traveling chrononaut names Joshua as he attempts to complete some unknown mission in the space between time. Coupled with the crazy premise is an interesting visual story telling technique. On the inside cover there is an index describing what time (past, present, etc) different colors represent throughout the series. Color coding is not unheard of in comics but the provision of an index before the story even begins creates a whole extra level of engagement within the narrative. Albuquerque appears to want the focus to be on the story, using color as a visual cue instead of a distraction or mysterious concept to be deciphered.
The first page of this issue jumps right into the the middle of the story. The narrative is loosely explained through jumps in time. As Joshua arrives in the Meld (the place outside of time) his past is touched on in brief single panel segments creating a hectic tone which is carried throughout most of the issue. While the story is Albuquerque’s idea he and his co-writer Mike Johnson have clearly worked hard to perfect the continuous time jumps and seeding of plot threads (mysteries abound!) from panel to panel. The natural and flowing narrative when coupled with Albuquerque’s masterful layouts is amazingly easy to navigate and an absolute blast to read!
The back and forth jumps in time, often occurring more than twice in a single page, are visually stunning. The aforementioned color coding provides the backdrop in nearly every panel while the characters, terrain and other details are primarily gray-scale. When looking at individual or paired pages as a whole the balance crafted by Albuquerque screams for attention! Word bubbles and specific objects in the panels mirror the colors elsewhere on page while red accents help add emotion and action to the pages complimenting Albuquerque’s rough and loose style. His dynamic art perpetuates and matches the hectic pacing of the narrative perfectly.
As a first issue this book is great! Just enough information is provided to hook without spoiling any of the mystery. However, as is common with first issue in a new series the characters remain essentially void of development. Shallow characters, though not ideal, is not a problem for this book as the crazy cover to cover ride is enough to warrant reading the next issue. Hopefully the characters will begin to grow as the story progresses. With a little bit of sci-fi, action, mystery and humor (with romance being alluded to) there is something for nearly everyone somewhere within these pages. Though the story is fun the art is absolutely the biggest selling point and any fans of Albuquerque’s past works will not be disappointed. Ei8ht has made all the right steps towards success with this first issue!
Published by Dark Horse
Story by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
Script by Mike Johnson
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
Letters by Nate Piekos
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque