Another New Comic Book Day and the start of another new Image series catching my attention as I peruse the racks of new releases. At first glance, and for the first few pages, Faerber and Kesgin’s Elsewhere looks like standard Other Magical World fantasy – low technology, great stone citadel, exotic landscape and beings who, although humanoid in shape are clearly not humans. But that changes very quickly as we follow two escaping prisoners – Cort and Tavel – fleeing the aforementioned stone fortress, which belongs to Lord Kragen – but find their escape diverted by the need to indluge in a little rescue when they hear a woman calling for help while they elude their pursuers. The woman, dangling from parachute straps from a tree is none other than Amelia Earhart…
And just like that, in the first few pages Faerber and Kesgin had managed to lull me into thinking oh yes, seen this sort of thing many a time before, I know where this is going to oh, no, I don’t. Which is always refreshing. Plus it doesn’t hurt that I am a big admirer of Earhart as one of the great trailblazers of flight (not to mention an icon for gender equality), and, like many, I am equally fascinated by her mysterious disappearance on a flight just before World War II. Just recently there was yet another claim that the mystery had been “solved” although sadly the evidence, to my mind, really didn’t show enough to prove anything. Crashed in the Pacific, wrecked and left on a atoll, captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy, abducted by UFOs (or as in Voyager, taken to another world), we simply still don’t know what happened to Amelia.
Which leaves her wide open for creators to have some fun with, and oh boy do they ever have fun here! On the run with rebels Cort and Tavel, the trio manage to borrow some “steeds” – flying animals, although they are worried that Amelia, clearly not from around these parts, will have no idea how to deal with the animal. Leading to a delicious panel where a grinning Amelia replies “you’re asking me if I’m comfortable flying?”. It’s a lovely character moment and very much in line with the fearless aviatrix of history, the one who couldn’t back down from a challenge, and certainly couldn’t walk away from a chance to fly something new (the Voyager story featuring Earhart also had a nice moment where she first sees the starship and of course the pilot in her asks if she can take it up for a spin). It’s not hard to imagine the real Amelia doing something similar…
Being an opening issue I really don’t want to go into too much more plot details for fear of spoilers. I loved the idea of dropping Amelia into this fantasy realm – as I said earlier, her mysterious disappearance leaves her story wide open for new tales. And besides, none of us want to think of one of our heroes as simply gone, so there is something welcoming and comforting in tales that have them not vanish into history but to live on in more amazing adventures in some other world (and if there had been other worlds you just know Amelia would have tried to fly to them too, you couldn’t hold her back). Kesgin’s art handles the fantasy elements nicely, from the opening one-pager of the great, stone fortress overlooking the land to a gorgeous double-page splash when Amelia first takes to the air on her steed and truly realises she isn’t in Kansas anymore. There are more revelations to come, but I’m not going to spoil them here, you need to find those for yourselves!
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