High Level #1, a new book from Vertigo drops this week from the creative team of Rob Sheridan, Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Fajardo Jr. Set in a dystopic future version of our world where water is scarce and pollution chokes one half of a fractured a society, High Level is an interesting mix of punk, politics and pathos.
Thirteen works in the sewers with her trusty droid sidekick Ezra. In high demand due to her wide array of skills, many of which remain vague, she lives in Onida and works cleaning sewers. While stories of a better life in High Level pull those around her towards it, she prefers to ignore the promised land to remain in the south.
Up north in the High Level, life is much better than in the south where scavengers sift through the polluted streets trying to eke out a living. Utopia isn’t all that its cracked up to be however as war, famine and riots tarnish the veneer of life in the north.
Things get interesting when word of a missing girl comes to the Thirteen’s attention as well as the Black Helix, the military arm of the authorities. The prospect of a new job catapults Thirteen into the crosshairs of a cybernetic sect who abhor flesh, reunites her with a significant member of her past and sets her on an unexpected path.
Issue one is a great deal of set up but with enough mystery to keep the narrative from bogging down in exposition. High Level is a pretty book to look at with Bagneda’s pencils meshing nicely with Farjado’s colors. The book is intended for mature audiences so the potential is there for the series to delve deeper into some of the themes introduced here in subsequent issues. Head into your local comic book shop and pick up issue #1 of High Level.