LOW VOLUME 1: THE DELIRIUM OF HOPE

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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: LOW VOLUME 1: THE DELIRIUM OF HOPE / AUTHOR: RICK REMENDER / ARTIST: GREG TOCCHINI / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 7TH

Tens of thousands of years in the future, faced with the threat of an exploding sun, humanity has retreated to the bottom of the ocean, waiting in hope for the return of probes sent to find habitable worlds. With air running out, society has generated two excesses that would make Caligula blush; drug-fuelled orgies are the order of the day within the higher echelons of government, while the lower classes prowl the streets in search of sex and drugs or both. It's a grim world, but Low’s central character Stel Caine offers hope. She's the eternal optimist, someone willing to fight for what she believes in, despite the odds that are heavily stacked against her and her family.

Low gets off to a slightly shaky start, with Rick Remender’s writing feeling clunky; the initial exchange between Stel and her husband feels too much like exposition. Yet these first few pages serve their purpose to establish situation and relationships surprisingly well, easing the reader into the world before getting the story going with a bang. As it continues, Low grows to feel like an epic worthy of Homer, a mythic journey even though it's set far into the future, a stunning combination of philosophy and rollicking adventure.

Greg Tocchini provides artwork that complements the story, painting a surreal and often dreamlike future. It can feel too sketchy at times, and on occasion there's so much going on it's hard to tell who's who, but the overall design is phenomenal, with the use of colours and shadows adding further mystery to the panels. Even a blank, black page is used well.

Be warned, though: Low isn't for the faint of heart. There's a lot of sex, swearing and violence that may turn some readers away. Any who are willing to continue will continue until the final page and find themselves rewarded by a story that is much more that it first appears to be; a moral tale of how hope can prevail through even the darkest of times.
 

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