ELECTRIC WARRIORS #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Travel Foreman, Hi-Fi, Travis Lanham
Edited by Brittany Holzherr, Jamie S. Rich
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: November 13, 2018
In the distant future, Earth sends two champions to participate in combat diplomacy as Electric Warriors.
Electric Warriors #1 is the first issue in a six-part miniseries depicting an alternate future of an alternate future of the DCU. It takes place an indeterminate amount of time after the Great Disaster, the apocalypse envisioned by Jack Kirby in his landmark Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Humans share the Earth with intelligent animals, though humanity is distinctly the junior partner in the alliance. Electric Warriors follows Ian, a human, and Kana, a sentient octopus, as they are transformed into Electric Warriors, who will fight to protect Earth’s interests in intergalactic combat diplomacy.
There are so many interesting ideas at play here, an intricate and loving interweaving of DC continuity to tell a fascinatingly weird story. In particular, it pulls together elements of the Legion of Super-Heroes and Kirby’s Kamandi to present a post-post apocalyptic vision of the future of the DCU, with a recently-recovered human civilization in fragile alliance with the various elevated animal tribes of the new Earth, and all of them combined to take part in an intergalactic order with various alien races made familiar in DC’s cosmic titles. There are also subtler nods to DC’s past, with characters dining on the Joker Fish from Englehart and Rogers’ Detective run and Ian being gifted a significant artifact from a legendary DC hero. And yet…
Electric Warriors #1 mixes together a lot of elements you wouldn’t think would work together, and yet the end result sings. With so many different ingredients mixed in a jarring, yet harmonious, way, it’s tempting to ignore the somewhat pedestrian broth that holds it all together. But it must be said: The central plot here is extremely reminiscent of The Hunger Games (which itself was a thinly-veiled knock-off of Battle Royale). A dystopian future, disputes settled through ritualized and televised combat, two heroes selected for an honor that is expected to lead to their dooms, one of those heroes standing in for their sibling. There’s even a token of historical significance gifted to the chosen warrior.
Nonetheless, I think it’s worthwhile to look beyond those similarities. Even if the baseline story feels a tad cliché, the details and the implementation are fascinating and the continuity connections feel enriching without being off-putting if you’re unfamiliar with the sources. And, of course, it’s only the first issue, which means there’s plenty of opportunity yet for the story to go in unexpected and surprising directions.
Moreover, Electric Warriors #1 is stunningly, gorgeously executed. The undersea world of the Octopus Tribe is especially noteworthy; the art is ethereal, yet familiar, the paneling becomes carefully symmetrical, and the word bubbles suddenly become iridescent. It’s a really effective, downright beautiful way to show the linguistic differences in the ways different species communicate with one another. The visual presentation in this comic is unlike anything else on the stands, and it’s worth taking a look at for the art alone.
Electric Warriors #1 is unlike anything else out there. It’s weird and experimental and beautiful and engaging. If the story line feels a bit familiar, the execution of it is unique and fulfilling. Well worth the effort to seek out.
The Verdict: 9.0/10