Alterna Comics has been showing up in my social media feeds, recently, and I’ve been looking forward to reviewing a couple of the titles that grabbed my attention.
Let’s take a look at Scrimshaw #1 from Eric Borden (creator & writer) and Dave Mims (artist & colorist). Scrimshaw is set in a not-too-distant future where climate change has flooded most of the major cities on Earth, governments have largely broken down, and people have either literally walled themselves off from the world, or are forced to sail the open seas as nomads.
Introducing an entirely new world order in a first issue can be a challenge. Borden and Mims rise to this, however, and readers get their sea legs soon enough with the larger picture of the status quo. As the focus comes in on the story, we learn that Japan is one of the few nations that still has a shaky semblance of stability and Tokyo has become the new Tortuga…or Mos Eisley…or wherever you reference as a den of mercenaries or a hive of scum and villainy.
Making their way to a sketch auction are Hans Tanaka, a badass with a sword and a Captain-Malcom-Reynolds demeanor, and Daisuke Wakahisa, a 4th Generation Fukushima Radiation Manipulator with the style of a consigliere. I don’t know what that means, but he seems to be a human with bomb powers and that’s pretty sweet. They proceed to stir the pot between several business/crime/military groups, and slide off to a boat and sail away to adventure.
The only downside is that we don’t get a lot more to the story than that. Sure, a first issue is just a taste, but there’s a bit of confusion that comes along with that, too. Fortunately, the taste is sweet enough to continue.
Eric Borden is clearly solid with his story and vision, and as it progresses, I think certain questions and rougher edges will be smoothed out. With this debut, his style isn’t as breakneck in pace as what you’d find in the Silver Age of Comic Books, but definitely doesn’t have the same slow burn and breathing room as comics of the current era.
Dave Mims has a very sketchy style. It reminds me of a combination of Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus), Kevin Eastman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Ronin-era Frank Miller. His action sequences are angular and dynamic and even his more casual scenes have a tension.
So is it worth it? Yes. The idea of a Waterworld-like world that has enough civilization left to be trouble has a lot of potential. If the science fiction itch you want scratched is not being handled by capes and cowls, perhaps a pirate with a katana is more your niche.
Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5