By: Skyler Johnson
For an artist who’s biggest claims to fame are Tom & Jerry and Disney comic books, it’s hard to imagine that he’s also credited for something like Titan Comics‘ Solo: The Survivors of Chaos. While it has an art and writing style you’d likely see with either Tom & Jerry or Mickey Mouse, it’s not. Solo instead is essentially if Disney were to show the underlying evils that exist in their movies. It’s if at the end of Tarzan, we would see Clayton being hanged. Blood is spilt and body parts are shown.
The Series Overall Thus Far
The graphic novel follows Solo, a competent fighter who’s just trying to survive in a barren post-apocalyptic wasteland. You can tell Martin put a lot of time and effort into worldbuilding, evident from the lore documents provided at the end of the second book. You want to see more of the universe, which will hopefully occur in later volumes.
The character of Solo is an interesting mix of Guts from Berserk with a touch of Joseph Joestar from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. He’s stoic but polite, and seems to have a good heart, at least from what we’ve seen so far. The characterization isn’t the draw of the comic, but the characters are engaging enough to be rooted for.
The most impressive aspect of the series so far is the action. Solo: The Survivors of Chaos has some of the best action I’ve ever seen in comics. You can clearly see the motions of each character and it makes for an engaging read. It makes sense given the writer’s background working with Tom & Jerry.
However, for a comic that’s so action-focused, the dialogue is still solid. You can tell it’s not Martin’s main strength as there are scenes that feel as though they should’ve been more dialogue heavy but instead were filled with narration, but the narration nevertheless works in conveying what it needs to convey. There are a few places where the reader has to make a few assumptions but anyone who’s read any comic or watched any movie ever should be able to make the conclusions they need to.
The issues I have with it are minor, but need to be discussed. While these types of characters haven’t appeared in the comic thus far, there are a few species that I already know I won’t like if forced to see them. The “trolls” and the “femme fatales” seem like stereotypical depictions of people with intellectual disabilities and sex workers. While I don’t know what they’re going to be, it’s something I’ll look out for as the series continues.
What to Expect in Volume 2
The first volume introduced us to the characters and the story whereas volume 2 was more of a deep dive into the characters. It’s not as action packed as the first volume but still contains good action sequences nonetheless. You also get a glimpse into a possible conflict for our protagonists.
The series thus far has shown itself to be intriguing and I’ll be interested to see where Martin takes it. We’re only two issues in but if Martin develops on the themes he’s hinted at, it’ll be an excellent ride. So far the series gets an 8.8/10.