Thereís quite a bit of potential in the idea of a virus that spreads via electricity; to his credit, Nathan Edmondson lets that concept succeed on its own without cluttering it with excess baggage in The Light. Now collected in trade, the limited series from last year keeps things minimal--with stretches of dialogue-free space and imagery thatís often just bright washes of light punctuated by outlines. The Light plays it smart and close to the chest by never providing much in the way of answers--largely because its two main characters, abusive father Coyle and his perfunctory restless daughter Avery, donít know anything about the incident that provokes the story, and they put only a bare effort into learning anything.
Brett Weldeleís art is perfectly suited to the stark minimalism on display in The Light, providing an expert use of twin palettes, one of utmost dark and one of utmost light, and his dizzying backgrounds help sell the confusion weíre meant to experience--through Avery in particular.
Though Edmondson struggles at times with his dialogue, which can often be extremely clunky and blunt, heís smart enough to know that in Weldele he has an artist who can tell the story through expressions alone, and he allows Weldele the space to do that often. Similarly, Edmondsonís cast of characters have a habit of making decisions that donít make much sense and which seem to occur only in order to advance the narrative--most notably in the groupís decision to head to Portland to look for Averyís mother.
Even with those foibles, The Light is a clever take on the sometimes stunted apocalypse genre thatís worth a look for Weldeleís art alone. Itís difficult for sharp ideas to even make it to the execution phase because consumer habits can so frequently fall in line with the old and comfortable, but The Light smartly eschews that. In a way, the flaws even work to its advantage, as they serve to illustrate Edmondsonís larger point that, in disaster, people arenít rational or thoughtful, they just act.
Like the wonderfully weird, sorely underrated indie horror film Pontypool (which I urge you to check out), The Light is a story that will bore its way into your brain and keep you asking questions long after it ends.
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