Today, Taylor and Mark are discussing Weavers 1, originally released May 4th, 2016.
Taylor: No matter the job, your first day always sucks. When you start a new job there are so many things to get acquainted with: coworkers, your work space, your boss, and of course the duties of the job you were actually hired to do. All of this newness is disorienting and the first day on the job is always long. By the time the clock hits five you can’t help but feel you’ve made a huge mistake. Luckily things get better as you get familiar with your new digs. Hell, you may even be so lucky as to eventually like this job. Point is, beginning employment anew is hard, even when your boss isn’t threatening you with your life or when you’ve had the (mis)fortune of gaining awesome powers due to a weird symbiotic organism. For Sid in Weavers 1, the first day on the job isn’t hard. It’s nightmarish.
The opening pages of Weavers are disorientating. From the start, writer Simon Spurrier throws us into the deep end, not giving us much in the way of an introduction for the series. For some, this is no doubt a bit maddening because it makes the opening pages a difficult read on first look. Why characters are saying and doing things is shrouded in mystery. At no point is this more clear than when Sid and his compatriots chase down a goon from a rival gang. As they chase him around a corner a strange thing happens.
Tommy tells Sid to wait, claiming that he can see through the walls of the buildings and knows that the goon is trapped in dead end. Sid then prepares to do…something. What this something is is not told to us at this point – never mind why Tommy and Sid have these powers in the first place. This is just one small example of how Spurrier introduces us to the world of Weavers by dunking us in head first. By the end of the issue, this and other scenes all make sense, but upon first read I found myself wondering what I had stumbled into. This is to Spurrier’s credit. Stories that show, rather than explain, how a fictional world works are incredibly fun. It submerses me in a mythology that is totally foreign and the joy of discovery as I continue to read is one of the reasons I love comics and other mediums that cater to fantastic stories.
Aside from being a great way to create interest in the world of Weavers, this device is effective because it places me in Sid’s shoes. Sid is new to this whole Weaver business, just as I am, so as I’m reading this scene unfold I get the same sense of confusion and disorientation that Sid is surely feeling. True, Sid knows more than me at this point in the comic, but I like that Spurrier has taken this opportunity to make me sympathize with Sid. I often take it for granted that I should empathize with the main character in a comic. Here, however, Spurrier reminds me that good writing actually makes me care about a character by making them human. Sid’s confusion and fear throughout this and other scenes in this issue help to draw me too him if for no other reason than I would be reacting in the exact same way he is to all of the weirdness surrounding him.
Spurrier uses the mystery of the Weaver’s to create a great story, but that’s not the only good story telling happening in this issue. Artist Dylan Burnett does a great job of bringing this strange underworld to life. There are a lot of ways he does this, but perhaps my favorite comes when Sid and Frankie (the head Weaver’s daughter) are tasked with taking out a federal agent. In the middle of doing so Frankie has to field a call and the way Burnett animates the scene is wonderful.
Here Burnett is charged with giving us a lot of information in the span of two pages. To do this, he breaks the long conversation down into 16 small panels. There’s nothing so special about this division, however it does mean that Burnett has a little room to show character emotion. To work around this Burnett employs the use of emotive lines around character to show surprise, frustration, and anger accordingly. In addition, he uses Sid’s brow as an excellent indicator of his emotion. Combined these help to bring these characters to life despite Burnett having to use some relatively iconic artwork to get his message across. Ultimately this means I see these characters as real people, even though they have supernatural spiders living in their stomachs.
Mark, I really enjoyed this first issue even though at first it was confusing. Now, though I have a lot of questions, I’m totally on board to see what comes next. Are you equally intrigued by the world Spurrier and Burnett have created?
Mark: It’s classic elevator pitch: take two things and jam them together. “Titanic in space!” “A film noir set in high school!” “A mafia story with a supernatural twist!” But as hoary a trope as it is, it works. And I’m usually in the bag for high concept genre mash-ups like Weavers promises. So am I intrigued by the world Spurrier and Burnett have created? Absolutely.
One of the things I admire about Weavers 1 is that although it is a more mature work than your average superhero book, it’s not an adult comic like sometimes happens. Pick up a copy of Alan Moore’s long-forgotten Neonomicon and you’ll quickly discover there’s nothing particularly adult about gratuitous sex, violence, and over the top language. That’s the kind of stuff that 13 year-old boys consider “adult.” Instead, Spurrier and Burnett are able to take more mature ideas (they murder an FBI agent!) without turning it into a Tarantino wannabe.
That sequence in the strip club bathroom is my favorite of the issue, because it smartly plays on our expectations as readers. Sid is in many ways the audience surrogate, our gateway to this world. We relate to him the most of all the characters. So when he’s ordered to kill the FBI agent, we squirm in our seats a little bit. He’s the main character, our protagonist. Is he going to find around cop killing or…
I complained in our Jackpot 1 commentary that the premiere issue was all tease without any satisfying narrative of its own, as if the fact that there are unexplained elements in the story is enough to keep readers interested. Weavers 1 is a good example of narrative teasing done well. I finished the issue with questions, but I also finished feeling satisfied. I wanted to know more rather than just feeling confused. I’ll definitely be back for Weavers 2.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?