The Few #1 Review

Posted January 18, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Sean Lewis

Art by: Hayden Sherman

Publisher: Image Comics

It’s rare that a comic will fly completely under my radar, and I’ll have no idea of what I’m getting into when I sit down to read it. Sure, I avoid spoilers and solicits, but I do pay attention to books that are announced and getting hyped pre-release. Especially Image books.

So I was taken aback when I got to the end of The Few #1 and had really, really loved it. How had I managed to miss something like this? Sure, I wasn’t familiar with the creators, but Image tends to do a good job of sending their #1’s out to the bigger publications well in advance.

The highlight here is, without a doubt, Hayden Sherman’s art. Because the book is a whopping 47 pages long, Sherman really gets room to breathe. Writer Sean Lewis definitely gets bits and pieces of dialogue and monologue in here and there, but compared to the art, the writing feels sparse.

As such, it’s a book worth spending a lot of time with. Slowing down and really engaging with the art is essential to enjoying this comic. I often found myself staring at panels for relatively long periods of time in absolute awe of the character designs, or the line work, or the pronounced color work.

It certainly helps that the art style is so unique. While everything is recognizable, The Few feels abstracted. The little details don’t always seem to matter. Facial features are sometimes absent, as are backgrounds. But Sherman uses these as devices to develop an oppressive atmosphere, one that I felt enveloped by.

And the coloring. Goddamn, is the color work in this book truly exceptional. It’s mostly black and white, which is an effective stylistic device. Even more effective, however, is when it breaks from that black and white. The establishing shots are all devoid of color, so when the reds and oranges show up and break that, it’s jarring, and in a good way.

On the narrative front, The Few is solid, if initially unexciting. There are a few swerves in the back half that have me excited about where the plot could go. Yeah, it’s a post-apocalyptic story, and a this point, those definitely feel overplayed. But there are some echoes of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth here that drew me in.

I like the characters a lot as well, although this has almost nothing to do with how they’re written. Don’t get me wrong, the bits of dialogue we do get are quite good; however, most of the characterization comes through the art. Lewis is smart enough to know that readers don’t need every detail of the cast explained to them through narration.

Much like the characterization, the world is built out through the art. There isn’t any exposition, really. A few scraps of information about the world are communicated through dialogue, but it takes spending time with the book to pick up on small things about the world. It’s beautifully executed.

The writing here is minimal, and I get the feeling that The Few is better off for it.

“Tour de force” is a phrase that is often over used when when writing about media. But goddamn, The Few #1 really deserves it. Its dedication to visual storytelling alone makes it incredible–it’s exactly what a comic should be. And it deserves tons of praise for that. I’m definitely along for the ride with this one.

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.