Review by Ian Keogh
Breaklands is set in a time and place where almost everyone has some form of super power, but all organised administration has broken down, leaving survival of the fittest as the prevailing rule of law. We’re first introduced to the Hundred Year King, a monarch of the type who enjoys ripping the spines from his followers. Altogether more likeable are Kasa Fain and her younger brother Adam. Kasa is one of the few people without super powers, but compensates via athleticism and archery skills. That’s almost all the set-up Justin Jordan needs to propel the chaotic energy rush of Breaklands.
Transferring the idea of super powers away from the ‘real’ world and into a futuristic fantasy nightmare is an attention-grabbing starting point. What’s become commonplace over the decades is given a fresh polish by having new surroundings, and Jordan’s approach is to look at what small effects a super power can have. An example is the telekinetic Adam using his ability to have the car he’s been abducted in swerve all over the place.
Indonesian artist (Albertus) Tyasetta is interesting, not least for never wanting to draw a curved line if something straight is possible. This applies to people as well as machinery and surroundings. In combination with Sarah Stern’s plain, bright colours it’s not sophisticated, but buys into the theme by being different enough to distance Breaklands from standard superhero comics.
Beyond transferring super powers to his fantasy wild west Jordan isn’t greatly original, his characters largely archetypes and the rescue quest a fiction staple, but he builds the situation well enough to keep the pages turning. By the end Kasa has discovered something new about herself, and the reason Adam is such a valuable target is known, but enough questions remain to be answered in Volume 2, not least when the jump forward of the prelude is due. As yet, though, it’s only available digitally as Season 2.