Published on July 1st, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Onyx #1 Review
Influenced by a host of classic sci-fi stories, Onyx is an entertaining, if rather straight forward, first issue.
It is set in a future where the over population of the planet has led to the majority of the natural environment to be destroyed and an organisation called the International Global Defense Corp has been created to protect what is left of the natural world.
Into this unbalanced world comes crashing a flaming meteor that managed to remain undetected until it hits a train full of people and then flies around the cities sky scrapers until it finally lands in one of the designated Jungle areas. A highly trained military squad are sent in to investigate but they soon disappear and a second squad are readied.
Chris Ryall uses the helicopter journey out to the jungle to introduce the reader to each of the characters in this second squad, focusing heavily on Abigail who is the team’s PSI. This narrative technique has been used so many times, especially in the Alien and Predator franchises, but it’s such a neat and handy way of covering the majority of the cast in a naturally chatty environment. Sometimes clichés just work and it’s the diversity of the characters that Ryall has introduced that makes it easy to overlook this much used format.
Things go south for the team before they reach their destination when they are attacked by a flock of giant birds of prey. The mutated creatures tear into the helicopters forcing the team to abandon ship. Most of the squad are able to control their decent but Abigail is not so lucky, her boosters fail and she starts to plummet to the ground. She is rescued from certain foliage encroachment by the titular character of the comic; the armour plated Onyx.
We learn about Onyx, her mission to stop the spread of a deadly alien spore and something of her origin story, through her interaction with Abigail and the rest of the squad as they come to rescue her. After initially being very hostile towards Onyx, they all learn to get along after they take some time out to listen to Onyx’s life history. And to cement this new relationship they share a bonding moment of combat against an army of mutated reptiles.
Over all the story isn’t very original and it reads like a collection of scenes from classic sci-fi stories strung together in an attempt to tell a new story. The script on the whole is well written and Ryall has created a nicely diverse cast of characters, although you will find yourself trying to match the characters to the gung-ho squaddies from Aliens. The setting is also a bit of a disappointment after the introduction describes a world of industrial chaos, awash with over population and towering apartment blocks, the story itself is mostly set in a bland woodland area. Mutated oversized toads and many eyed alligators are amusing but don’t pose any real threat to the heroes and only really serves as an introduction to Onyx’s clever sword; it kills only creatures infected by the spore.
The artwork is sufficiently energetic, filling the action sequences with urgency and pace. The power of Onyx stands out against the scrabbling fight techniques of the squaddies highlighting the alien’s superior strength and technology. Unfortunately some of this pace is lost in the panels that are heavy with dialogue and the characters stand around like extra’s who aren’t sure what they should be doing.
Onyx is rightly the best thing about the comic: she is a beautifully designed with a sleek but practical suit of armour that bares a passing resemblance to Robocop. Her back story is interesting and her dedication to her mission to destroy the spore but save innocent bystanders is simple but satisfying.
There isn’t anything new in these pages, nothing that any seasoned reader won’t have seen elsewhere but it is enjoyable. A mix of action and humour keeps you reading to the end of the issue and may even be enough to pick up the next one. I would have preferred to see more of the future world depicted at the beginning of the story but maybe they’ve left that for future issues; a mutated reptilian invasion, nature against man’s metal constructs; now that sounds like something I’d like to read.
Writers/Artists: Chris Ryall/Gabriel Rodriguez
Colours: Jay Frotos
(Two covers for you with this one just because I love this alternative cover by Alan Robinson and Jack Davis)