Vast Expanse #1
An Anthology, by Jeremy Scott Nichols and Various Artists
Review by Christopher Bishop
Vast Expanse is an anthology comic published by Township Comics. It is similar in vein to Dark Horse Presents and other anthology comics in that there is not an over all pervasive theme. Every story is unique, some tapping social issues and others falling into light horror suspense venue. Jeremy Scott Nichols tells us on inside cover that every story will be wrapped up in 5 pages and will have a definite beginning middle and end. A bold statement that is pulled off quite well as a matter of a fact. What is also admirable is that given the various topics no one story reads like the other even though they share the same author. A different artist(s) is tapped for each story lending their own take on Jeremy Scott Nichols script for what is sure to be an interesting ride.
The first story, The Horror at Tournus, deals with France during the Dark Ages and a Muslim traveler escorting a fellow female philosopher around the local environs. They soon discover the most macabre of secrets that leads the traveler to force a man to account for his horrific crimes. What is most interesting is both the Muslim faith and Christian faith are held in high regard by the traveler and it paints an excellent and interesting outlook of how one can not believe the same things but still show reverence and respect. The pencils are for the most part decent enough to convey the story though there were some minor anatomical issues with some of the artwork.
The second story, 100% Weird, follows a young androgynous female student through what has to be a miserable day of bully abuses at a new school. It quickly gives us hope though as for once the bullies get a taste of their own medicine thanks to another fellow crafty student who looks out to protect those who would be picked on. The artwork does a great job of setting the teen scenario representing characters in a visual style that gives voice to the storyline.
The third story, Perpendicular Lives, is a bit more confusing to follow but to all appearances seems to follow a couple folks that share a secret that separates them from the masses thanks to their abilities. The abilities have up till this point sort of left them alone, and yet just because something is shared does not mean an instant bond will be forged. The art was capable of telling the story but overall there were a few panels that left me sort of confused as to what was going on.
The fourth and final story, Ain’t Afraid of Nobody, follows a young couple trying to get away and have a simple camping trip when they are assailed by anamorphic creatures out of legend. Caught in the middle of the battle the young couple struggles more to keep out of the way then anything else. The pencil work is very super hero oriented and is by far the tightest pencil work of this issues offering. This story flows easily for the most part and is even a little humorous at points.
Overall, Vast Expanse #1 is exactly what you would expect of an indie anthology offering. It was quite enjoyable to read through and it was an excellent way for some young artists to showcase their talents. Well worth the price of admission.
I give this a solid B, downgrading it only for some confusing visuals that tend to muddy about the author’s story.
Keep Rolling Them Bones,