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Low Volume One: The Delirium of Hope


Rick Remender (Author),
Greg Tocchinii (Illustrator)
Image (Publisher)

In his 1994 essay “Thought Without a Body,” Jean Francois Lyotard wrote “while we talk, the sun is getting older. It will explode in 4.5 billion years…In comparison everything else seems insignificant. Wars, conflicts, political tension, shifts in opinion, philosophical debates, even passions…dies out with the sun.” So why do anything? While he doesn’t directly reference Lyotard, in the intro to the book Remender states that while the reality of the world’s death hit him harder than he may have expected, it gave him the opportunity to create Stel Caine, a woman whose existence attempts to show us Remender’s belief that “it’s not what happens in life that defines us, but how we choose to deal with it.” Stel is living Lyotard’s end-of-the-world scenario; Earth has been reduced to a few million people all living underwater in an attempt to escape radiation on the surface. The air, however, is getting stale. Stel chooses to believe that the universe will provide her with a solution, in the face of almost impossible odds. But she doesn’t sit back and wait for anything to reveal itself. Instead, she works and risks actively towards safety for herself, her dwindling family and the rest of Earth’s population. Remender’s eternally optimistic but never saccharine Stel is balanced by Tocchini’s ethereal imagery; the book looks a lot like if concept sketches for Return of the Jedi were transplanted underwater, and the delicacy of the lines and colors provides a fresh take on an apocalyptic scenario. Rather than showing the end of days as blunt and ugly, Remender and Tocchini choose to portray a dying world with as much beauty as a living one.

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