There is only one comic that came out today where you got to read an essay by a neurologist about the possibility of transferring one’s brain and consciousnesses to another body, that is partially the reason that Island #2 is this weeks finest.
From the moment you look at it’s cover, Island #2 becomes a completely immersive experience and for 113 pages, it never stops being that. Literally, the page on the inside cover is the start of a short five page comic about a dark blue and purple electrical post apocalypse urban wasteland filled with with monsters by Will Kirby that is one of the coolest looking comics of 2015. There is more dynamic art and visual story telling on the cover and the opposite page of that cover, where an ad is usually placed in most books, then there is in 22 pages of most single issue comics. Island’s table of contents is more entertaining then almost every comic I read from Marvel & DC this week. After that it get’s even better.
Trying to describe the contents of Island in any way that is comprehensive is a fools errand. There’s comics about skateboarding mummies, primitive cannibal’s on a space colony, body swapping & Brandon Graham’s lizard talking to god over the phone. There is the aforementioned essay about the medical implications of transferring one’s consciousness to a new body and another about the first intercontinental airplane heist. There’s a three page photo essay about industrialism in nature. There is no other comic like Island, even other anthologies don’t come close to matching it’s scope and inventiveness. It’s ambitions are astronomical and it pulls them all off flawlessly. This isn’t art being filtered through a commercial property, this is art for art’s sake as a commercial product. It is purely comics and all the amazing potential of the medium being realized in radically different ways from one page to the next.
From a craft standpoint in and of itself, the work of the creative talents here is simply amazing. In addition to Will Kirby’s stunning opening salvo, Ludroe & Emma Rios create incredibly satisfying & profound conclusion to their two part stories that started in the series debut while Prophet artist Simon Roy may have the best story off all in his astonishing Island debut, Habitat. While each comic is radically unique from the next, they all share the same spirit of adventure and freedom with an uncapped level of creativity in each creators work while also being smart and concise. The main three comics in the middle are each 25+ pages and they all feel like complete volumes of a comics story that could easily be single issues. That’s the beauty of Island; who knows how many people, if any, would even know that something like Ludroe’s Dagger Proof Mummy exists, let alone invest their time into what amounted to a two issue comic series. But Dagger Proof Mummy is nearly perfect as a two issue comic and Island afforded Ludroe the opportunity to create it for the largest audience as possible. In that way, Island is a purely creator driven book. It exists solely for comics artists to create the exact comic they want to in as much space as they need. And free of any concern towards distribution, sales, editorial interference ect these comics pro’s ended up making some pretty amazing shit.
When talking about the strength of comics, we always say how it’s like a movie with no budget meaning that the amount of imagination you can display in your visual story telling is nearly limitless. But while that’s true, it’s rarely explored with any depth or fully realized. Limitless doesn’t have to mean everything we’ve already seen before taking to it’s logical extreme, limitless can be whatever your imagination can come up with. An urban dystopia destroyed by monsters, a lizard talking to god on the phone, a skateboarding mummy, cannibal’s on a space shuttle colony, your brain in a new body or hijacking a plane to visit your native Italy out of frustration by an unpaid debt from the US Military. It’s not pushing the boundries that everybody else is thinking about that are special, it’s the boundaries that one single individual is breaking in their own head that are the real jewels. In that sense Island is treasure chest of idea’s, imagination and creativity. Because truthfully, imagination has no limitations and Island #2 is conclusive proof.