Mac Review: Elsewhere by Jay Faerber

Elsewhere is written by Jay Faerber, art by Sumeyye Kesgin, colour by Ron Riley. Published by Image.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Cover to #4

I’ve read the first (four-issue) mini-series of a planned series of more than one. This is another comic I found browsing my LCS for something new.

You may think you know what happened to Amelia Earhart, but Elsewhere tells the real story: she was taken to a fantasy world where tall furry creatures fight for their lives against horned beasts.

The story sounds simple, and it is – but it’s fun. We have a heroic adventurer, off in search of her missing co-pilot, stopping to help the helpless. We have imaginative creatures, we have a fantasy world.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Cover to #2

It isn’t all entirely straightforward: the ‘evil creatures’ aren’t all evil; nor is it divided into humans vs. evil.

It starts with a couple of prisoners escaping a castle, and they eventually pull Amelia out of a tree. The escapees aren’t human, and the story builds intrigue from the beginning; who are these people? What are they? Why were they in the castle? Who is this human woman they find? (Her name is revealed shortly, and I’ve already spoiled it for you.)

We get to know them as they go along; one is heroic, the other more cowardly, but willing to go along with his friend. We see Amelia as a no-nonsense type, able to cope with being trapped in a fantasy world and determined to do what she needs to. Her heroism is automatic, unquestioning. One of the first things she says on finding out she’s trapped in an otherworldly plane (not airplane… mystic plane… y’know, dimension. You know what I mean!) is: “We rescue Fred.” (Her copilot, also lost.) She doesn’t think twice about it.

This is on-the-job writing done well; even though we never see these people at more peaceful times, we do get to know them as they talk and joke together.

For example: they’ve just found some flying riding beasts (see the cover to #2, above) when this exchange happens:

Obviously, flying a plane is the same as riding a griffin-thing. Just like driving and riding a horse.
I just love this.

Or here:

Communication beyond words; how I love thee.
What happens when Amelia learns about earlier human visitors.

I love the way she learns – and accepts – what happened without being really told. It’s possible the three earlier humans were Nazis (they’re on an abandoned Nazi submarine in a forest in this scene).

There’s a twist at the end, which Faerber sets up subtly from the beginning – showing us why and how it happened, but never tipping us off that that’s what he’s doing; or even that there will be a twist. The clues are all exposition, or set-up for other things.

My copy of Elsewhere issue 3 has a Walking Dead homage cover, and even that is inoffensive. I normally detest covers like it because they’re effectively false advertising: “Look, in this issue, Mulder and Scully team up with Scooby Doo!”, but of course Scooby does not show up in the issue. Or, I feel like *my* comic has been hijacked to highlight something that has nothing to do with it. This one? It’s just a cover; not particularly interesting, but not misleading either. I wouldn’t have known what it was if I hadn’t been told when I bought it. (I would’ve wondered what was up with the logo.)

They even get that right.
How to do a forced homage well.

They start to set up later mini-series by telling us that maybe things are coming to this world from places other than Earth. This opens them up to a lot of possibilities.

No hesitation, she just figures out where these flesh-eating insects came from.
There are other worlds than these.

This is a cool, decisive heroine.

I highly recommend Elsewhere for people who like traditional portal fantasy, and look forward to the second mini- next March.

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