Writers R.P. Foster and Russ Pirozek were joined by Pablo Lordi (pencils), Jake Isenberg (inker), and Eduardo Camacho (letterers) and together have completed the first two issues of Collapse: Isolation. After an opening narrative that summarizes well the events of the war, the first issue commences with a day-in-the-life overview that introduces the various members of the community but also provides a tour of the facility where the group of survivalists have made their home since the war twenty years ago. The character introductions and tour efficiently reveal the interactions between the residents, their tasks that benefit the community, as well as the challenges they are encountering at that point in time. It is a narrative choice that works well given the information (locale, characters, historical marker) that had to be conveyed in the first issue, especially since quite a few characters that are introduced. It did present a little bit of a challenge to remember everyone and their relationships to each other, yet the brief bios at the end of each issue were helpful. For the digital copy, having the bios at the beginning might have been useful as a point of reference. That said, in the two issues, Foster and Pirozek created characters that a reader could feel a sense of connection to that was tested when the group needed to decide if they would send out a search party and particularly when one of their own betrays the community.
Lordi and Isenberg, on pencils and inks respectively, did well to visually realize the story in several ways. With the limited palette of black, white, and grey, there are some challenges, but the artists overcame them by incorporating the fabric texture throughout the two issues. The technique created a sense of depth and completeness to the visual experience. In addition, the added texture softened the stark opposition of white and black that would have otherwise been overbearing on the page. The flashback sequence was nicely set apart by the use of sepia tones – a clear choice since sepia is associated with old photographs and past memories.
Some of the facial expressions, body proportions, and postures were a little bit awkward, but easily overlooked. What was important was that the characters' appearances were unique and distinguishable from one another, and the artists did well on that point. The panel layouts got a little tight, seeming to run into each other, and were repetitive at times; however, incorporating the full-page spreadsheet at the close of each issue to encapsulate the cliffhanger moment was a good decision and well executed. And, they created a few nice transitions that complemented each other. For example, towards the end of issue two, as one group is heading to the surface, another group is juxtaposed mirroring their actions as they head back to their facility.
Camacho did well with the lettering of both issues. The bubble placement worked well, and they flowed effortlessly with the visual progression of the eye across the page. They did not obscure the characters or the action unfolding in each panel. In particular, the rectangular narrative boxes that opened issue one were distinctive and clean. In all of the narrative and speech bubbles, the lettering was well spaced and well placed within the bubble or rectangular.
Collapse: Isolation has a few bumps that can be forgiven because the characters are well developed and ones that a reader is soon interested in how they overcome the adversity they are facing. The story is well written and engaging, and Foster and Pirozek provide a fresh spin on the post-apocalyptic genre. And, they left such a cliffhanger at the end of issue two that I, for one, hope that issue three is on the horizon.