Carmen #1 Review

Posted July 31, 2015 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Mike Speakman & Aharon Claridge

Art by: Matt Kyme

Publisher: IF? Commix

Based on this first issue, Carmen seems like a pretty solid soft sci-fi series. This issue consists largely of set up (surprising, considering it’s a first issue, right), but what’s being set up has a lot of potential. The titular Carmen is only briefly introduced, so we don’t actually get much out of her character. All we know about her by the end of this issue is that she’s grieving over her dead boyfriend, who was a member of the military. So there’s not too much characterization of either her or Lucas, the book’s other lead character. We actually do know a little bit more about Lucas – he’s gone into hiding after deserting the military, for some reason.

Carmen #1, while not doing much with its characters, mostly sets up the series’ plot. This is where the book really gets interesting. The book begins on a cold open, introduces us to Brody Sinclair – Carmen’s aforementioned boyfriend – before quickly killing him off. Interestingly enough, writers Speakman and Claridge give him his own voice. Of course, this is necessary, in order to make his death more impactful.

It’s what comes after the cold open that is the real meat of this issue. For some reason (which remains unknown at the end of this issue) King-Dome Come Industries has preserved Brody’s body – no doubt for nefarious purposes. The “powerful evil corporation” is a long-standing science fiction trope, but I have to admit, I’m a sucker for it when it’s done well. I can’t make a conclusive statement about whether or not that’s the case here quite yet. However, this issue is a promising start, and leaves the reader with a few mysteries. Now, Carmen enters the picture after an analysis of Brody’s memories – this corporation needs someone that was close to him to complete whatever they’re attempting to accomplish. The premise isn’t too complex, but it’s interesting enough to keep me interested.

Furthermore, it’s pretty  well written. Like I said, we don’t really get to spend much time with the main characters. However, the characters who do have dialogue – mostly a contingent of scientists – were written quite well. That’s a good sign for future entries in this series. Again, it’s not conclusive, and I’m going to repeat myself: there’s a lot of potential here. If the two main characters – Carmen and Brody – are as well written as the characters in this issue were, then we could very well have a great series on our hands.

My only major problem with Carmen is the art. The landscapes and inorganic materials look fine, but all the characters look a little bit off. Some of them are over exaggerated to a ridiculous extent, and others seem disproportionate. It also really seems to lack a sense of motion. Everyone feels so rigid – which is clearly not the case, based on how events unfold. There’s not much fluidity to the art, so it doesn’t flow all that well. It may be the style that artist Matt Kyme is going for, but it is quite jarring and isn’t the most appealing of aesthetics.

All in all, I would say Carmen #1 is worth checking out. It’s not gorundbreaking, and there’s not much character work, but it struck me as having a solid story that may be worth following into future issues. I can’t not recommend this book, considering that the promise of an excellent series is there. Better to be on board from the beginning, rather than running to catch up with the train 3-4 issues in when the book achieves its potential.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.