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Comic Review: World War X, Helius

The official cover of Titan Comics' "World War X Helius."

The official cover of Titan Comics' "World War X Helius."

Who could have guessed Earth’s requiem would be so metal?  Jerry Frissen and Peter Snejbjerg’s World War X, Helius explores the intergalactic peril of mishandling intricately-scribed boxes.  What follows is a straightforward, yet compelling tale of relentless, monstrous invaders and the incredibly desperate attempt to thwart them.  Fortunately, the science-fictionally mundane is similarly staved, as a classic art style and a quick pace pull this trade out of a dank nebula.

In the wake of a scientific fumble, a lunar base is destroyed by a Xenomorphic beast after it emerges from a mysterious and massive sarcophagus.  This is not the premiere of these monsters, however, as periodic flashbacks suggest similar creatures raging havoc upon ancient times.  Oddly, the extraterrestrials often emerge from beneath the world’s crust, illuminating a vein of human naivety. Two men emerge to hinder the aliens’ advance:

The book focuses on the titular and immortal philanthropist, Helius; and Adesh, an escaped prisoner desperate to save his significant other, Tara, from a recent emergence in Florida.  A race to hinder the early entrants of this cataclysmic conflict follows.

The pace of the comic is quick and high-octane, but could benefit from a bit of contemplation.  This isn’t a point worth harping on terribly much, since the series is very much in its infancy, but early signs seem to suggest a narrative that favors action over development.  Despite this, said action, varying from a battle with a zombie swarm to a knighted brigade’s confrontation with an electric wolven alien, whets a sharp enough hook to keep one trudging on.

A massive alien attacks a lunar base in the opening frames of World War X, Helius.The art direction lies at the forefront of Helius.  Clean and simple enough to keep the frame moving, the work does allow a viewer to wade in frame shamelessly, particularly in scenes featuring the monster-toting boxes and heavy fauna.  A welcoming drop of presumed inspiration, the aliens don’t appear to be too much of a far cry from Giger’s Xenomorph (read about this and a few more wicked fiends here).  Fortunately, the creature’s design is at enough of a distance to still appear unique, but more importantly, terrifyingly unsettling.

The scope of the work seems to fluctuate appropriately, making World War X oddly intimate.  An interesting dynamic forms, as a man in pursuit of his wife if placed against a exponentially dire conflict waged over the course of dozens of centuries.  In that same breadth however, the comic could have benefited heavily from an unconventional feminine perspective.  With so many beasts bursting from the womb of the dirt, this notion could pretty readily be explored and stave an overkill of machismo.  Thankfully World War X conjures a fair amount of anticipation to warrant such wishful thinking, as the series seems to bolster a hearty serving of staying power.

World War X doesn’t stray too far from the flock, but deviates enough to keep following.  If the second volume can decently exceed its predecessor, we may be in for a momentous saga.

World War X, Helius, published by Titan Comics, will hit shelves on April 14th, 2015.

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