Review by Jamie McNeil
At the edge of the galaxy, on an asteroid dubbed the Reef, they built a supercomputer designated The Lighthouse. Its purpose is to guide ships through a treacherous stretch of space known as the Stormfront, which is riddled with wormholes. Here Maria Vasques serves as part of a small crew led by Captain Moriz in what ought to be a fairly uneventful assignment. Until an unscheduled arrival initiates a ruthless battle for survival.
Jules Verne’s Lighthouse is writer David Hine and artist Brian Haberlin’s sci-fi adaptation of Verne’s tale of piracy and survival set around a remote lighthouse. Artistically it’s varied, with its resemblance to 3D television shows slightly distracting, though Haberlin’s cast is well proportioned and moves smoothly with effective use of viewpoints from different angles. His aliens and the creative clothing the pirates wear are very good, though colourist Geirrod Van Dyke’s shading does tend to blend them into the background meaning you have to really look at the art to fully appreciate the skill.
Haberlin and Van Dyke are very talented, but some artistic choices plus difficulty varying facial expressions effectively diminish the effect of Hine’s writing. It’s a pity since the coloring is good and Haberlin’s attention to detail is impressive. It’s little things that have a bigger effect than intended because when the art works, it dazzles. There are stunning landscapes of space and planet (sample) while technology and transportation are an intriguing blend of the modern and futuristic. Despite its flaws, it maintains a juicy tension that keeps the pages turning from one intense confrontation to the next.
Hine’s tale is bold and inventive. He keeps much of Verne’s original ideas for The Lighthouse at the End of the World but isn’t afraid to add his own. Some – like the lighthouse as a supercomputer- feel like an established sci-fi trope, but changing Vasquez to female works well. Hine guides the plot skilfully and provides plenty of surprising twists to make this story his own. Some of the cast do feel superfluous, a revelation about one crew member unsatisfactory, but even with some quibbles, this is is a good updating.
Jules Verne’s Lighthouse is a brutal tale where the art doesn’t deliver as hoped, but the creators approach the source material respectfully and are bold enough to produce an adaptation that pays off.