“THE LIGHT” (Comic Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on Dec. 24th, 2010

The trade paperback of THE LIGHT (Image Comics) collects the widely acclaimed five issue horror series, which can only be described as a masterpiece. A father single-handedly protects his teenage daughter, while the world around them crumbles into a blazing hellhole. In this apocalyptic inferno, anything with electrical light can automatically kill you.

Coyle has just been fired from his job at Ray’s Welding Services. His co-workers don’t think of him very highly, especially because of his heavy drinking habits. They burst out laughing when they see Coyle storming out of the boss’s office. This is not the first time the disgruntled employee has been let go, as he can’t hold a single job because the town only knows him as a wife-beater. As a result of the bitter divorce, Coyle can’t communicate with his rebellious daughter, Avery, who hates him with a passion. In the middle of the night, Coyle notices his neighbor running across the street, warning not to look at the light. Suddenly, the neighbor’s entire body spontaneously combusts and incinerates to dust.

Listening to the dead man’s advice, Coyle protects his eyes with his welder’s goggles and blindfolds his daughter. He doesn’t want Avery to glimpse the traumatizing horrors of those engulfed in flames. However, nothing can prepare this single father from witnessing the city streets being littered with smoking skeletal remains. 
Anything connected to an outside power source burns you from the inside. You cannot turn on the lamp or watch news from your TV. If you do, death is an instant result. Father and daughter journey across the burning remains of America in a futile search for survivors. What starts as a gut-wrenching family drama promptly turns into a harrowing tale of ultimate endurance.

Nathan Edmondson’s story brilliantly captures the reader’s attention with a fantastic opening. The depiction of Coyle may put off some readers; he’s undoubtedly an unlikable character. But the ways he progresses throughout is a great showcase for Edmondson’s strength of character development. Abstract and devoid of primary colors, Brett Weldele’s visuals are also something to applaud, stunningly shrouded in darkness and gray tones that set a gloomy and foreboding atmosphere.

THE LIGHT is an uncompromising tale of survival, backed by terrific writing and the aforementioned enchanting art. A classic may be in the making.