debris-tpOne of the tropes of post-apocalyptic fiction is that the survivors and their descendants return to a simpler way of life. Kurtis J Wiebe and Riley Rossmo have taken this idea and run with in it, creating the world of Debris. Our heroine is Maya, who is the ‘chosen one’ of the story. She has certain talents which she must use in search of water, so she can save her town, Maiden.

This world is populated by avian-like machines made of bits of debris. They appear to be driven by spirits. At least, something emerges from some of them when they are defeated. These creatures, especially the huge jormungand, attack Maya’s town and their water source is destroyed. Maya’s mentor is killed, so she is chosen to find water and save Maiden. Her adventure leads to her to find new truths about her people and her history. And there is more than just the jormungand out there.

Debris TP collects four issues, so the story itself is fairly short, and there’s not much room for any depth or complex subtext (there is a touch of sexual politics). The story is of a woman learning that her life and heritage are not what they seem, with a warning in the coda that we should look after our planet. Maya’s story has an unexpected and rather sudden conclusion, which I felt happened a tad too quickly. Maybe a 5th chapter would have helped with the pacing. Wiebe’s story is a familiar one, but has enough quirky elements to be interesting: a typical chosen one’s quest where she encounters the eccentric outcast, and learns the hidden truth. Dialogue is sparse and conveys the plot well. There is occasional humour which works well. The creatures are great. They are familiar in terms of look (there are those that look like werewolves, dinosaurs and even the giant sandworms from Dune) but cool enough to enjoy their presence. There are suggestions of magic, or at least that mystical traditions are more than beliefs. There is even a prophecy. Maya does grow as a character; the choices she makes at the end are not those she would have made at the start.

Rossmo’s art is stunning. His use of colour, especially the blues and reds is incredibly striking, especially in passages of flash-backs when only red and blue is used. The overall use of colour to suggest mood is very effective His design is also quite something too. There are occasional scenes when time and events change within a single panel, which is quite cool. Some of the larger panels containing scenery are reminiscent of landscape watercolours than comic book art. Maya’s design is a little odd, however. She has the athletic and buxom figure of a typical superheroine, but the face of a child, with huge Manga-like eyes. Her face lacks the detail found in other characters, especially that of Kessel, whom she comes across early on her travels. None of the other characters have that design feature. She is written as naive, however, so that could explain it.

As usual, Image’s packaging has some nice features, including the original teaser art designed to look like Final Fantasy – hinting at the creators’ influences, and some pencil work and script. Debris is an enjoyable one-off quest story, raised to another level by Rossmo’s art. A decent story turned into a very good comic book.

Rating: 3/5 overall (4/5 for the art)
Reporter: Ian J Simpson

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