“Green Wake” collaborators, Kurtis J. Wiebe and Riley Rossmo are back with a new emotionally driven miniseries titled, “Debris”. Unlike their previous series, “Debris” tells a story sans that prominent backdrop of an ongoing, noir-style murder mystery, infused with dense mythology and metaphor. This time around, Wiebe and Rossmo grasp the concept of a short, four-issue mini-series, and take on a futuristic world where Collosals rise from stock piles of garbage that cover the planet. The creative team approaches the narrative with an accelerated pace that does not fail in providing its readers with a satisfying first issue. This is a brilliantly executed comic through the addition of Owen Gieni, who was brought on board to colour the series, thus bringing to life Wiebe’s words, and brightening Rossmo’s stylistically lurid and gritty artwork.
WRITTEN BY: Kurtis J. Wiebe
ART BY: Riley Rossmo
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
The story opens up in the far future, where the world, a vast desert(ed) land covered in garbage and debris, is seemingly nothing but a post-apocalyptic, dystopian wasteland. The plot follows Calista, the protector of the very last human tribe, located in an isolated village called Maiden, and her disciple Maya, a driven, young warrior. The pair of fighters are responsible for keeping lookout for any potential threats towards their sacred settlement. Wiebe wastes no time before delving into the action by introducing these threats in the first few pages of the comic.
Said to be inspired by “Final Fantasy”-esque monsters, these threats come in the form of machine animals and beasts called “Umbra” and “Colossals”, who run on gears and debris. The latter of the two have but one objective, and that is to wipe off the last remaining humans on the planet, forever. Rossmo’s art is, for the most part, seriously impressive, though noticeably different from his previous works. Particularly regarding the machine animals, he showcases a more refined and defined approach to linework and detail, adding definite splashes of steampunk elements for enthusiasts to enjoy.
First, we meet three Umbra, smaller machine animals, and apparently non-violent spirits, who take their original, pre-apocalyptic shape by using parts from the garbage around them. Maya categorizes them as “Avios”, ostriches made out of junk. With their first appearance, it’s easy to assume that Wiebe and Rossmo are paying homage to the “Cockotrice” in FF4. A monster that resembles a mutated chicken or rooster with choppers and a bad temper… I see it.
With the introduction of a nasty, huge monster Colossal (who’s a dead ringer for “Sand Worm’s” long lost cousin, twice removed, in FF11, by the way), the readers are given a glimpse into Maya’s character, as she bravely engages the monster in battle. This warrior lives for the hunt, and she will not let her people down. She is fierce and driven, and everything you could possible want in a heroine. Not to mention she’s fully clothed, which is a plus. The readers are also given the impression that this dragon-like beast has been harassing the people of Maiden for some time now, as Maya calls it by name, “Jormungand”. The mystery behind what has lured it closer to the Umbra and their village remains unanswered, but unrelenting Colossal attacks and a scarce supply of food and water cause Calista to petition the councillors of Maiden to train more warriors to defend their village.
The introduction of this elders council, which Maya hints at having issues with, as well as the student/mentor relationship between her and Calista, begs an uncreative comparison to be made between this set-up and the Watcher/Slayer relationship between Giles and Buffy, as well as their tumultuous relationship with the Watchers Council. It definitely makes me curious to see what Wiebe has in store for these characters.
After Maya’s performance against Jormungand, Calista believed her disciple to be more than ready to take over as the official protector of Maiden. Now she and the tribe she is sworn to protect, are all that stands against the extinction of humanity. Upon Jormungand’s demise, which destroys the settlement’s water source, it is discovered that the water Jormungand fell into cured the spirit within the machine. So, backed by Calista’s firm belief in something that could merely be a legend, the end of this issue sees Maya off on a journey in order to rid the world of this colossal mess.
There are some challenging moments in this issue that Maya experiences, not only physically, but mentally as well. The emotional impact involved for both Maya and the reader is authentic, and makes this well worth a read. So I implore you; give this series a try, lest it becomes another “Green Wake”.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd