A psychological science fiction horror series from Image comics, Pisces is written by Kurtis J Wiebe (Rat Queens, Peter Panzerfaust) with art by Johnnie Christmas (Sheltered). The first issue begins with former fighter pilot Dillon Carpenter arriving late, drunk and bloody to the birth of his child. Clearly something has happened to him on the way, but the reader is not immediately given any details of what.
His presence unwanted by his wife, he is rejected and in an ensuing fight a punch from a friend knocks him out, and unconscious state takes him to a flashback of his time in the Vietnam War where things get bloody as his traumatic time behind enemy lines is shown in graphic detail.
The story is purposefully disjointed, and between the flashes of what may be the present and the past there are images of Dillon in the void with glimpses of space. Is he there thinking back, or back thinking forward? In a single issue with no clear timeline it is hard to tell exactly what is going on, and while that is no doubt intention there is not enough here to feel connected to the story yet.
The character is still bare, a largely unknown quantity, his adventures feeling disconnected and random. While Pisces may work more successfully as a longer form graphic novel, reading a single issue leaves more confusion and apathy than curiosity. Weibe describes it as “A monster created from my deepest physical and psychological fears… a series I’ve been afraid to write… this is me facing my demons,” while Christmas sees it as “Surreal, horrifying and beautiful… part lullaby and part nightmare, wrapped within a pulse-pounding voyage of discovery.”
Short on dialogue for large sections the comic relies heavily on Christmas’ solid art, with the colours of Tamra Bonvillain (Wayward) giving a strong distinctive feel to each scene. Some of the panels have a disturbingly visceral nature which matches the intention of the concept.
There are clearly hints within images of things to come but with such a brief snippet of what may be a greater whole, there is just not enough to be drawn in, the whole issue more like an extended opening scene, a prelude rather than a the first chapter of the story.
Pisces issue One is available now from Image Comics