By Svetlana Fedotov
What would you do if there was rock the size of Baltimore hurtling towards Earth with the ill-intent to destroy everything in its path? Well, if you are one of the citizens of the Broken World universe, you better figure it out quick because in 48 hours, there won’t be any decisions left to make. A pre-to-post apocalyptic comic focused around one woman’s struggle to keep her family together, Broken World is not just a sci-fi comic, but a testament to one persons attempt to hold on to everything dear in the face of tremendous odds. I know, it sounds like some preachy, love thy family bullshit, but it mostly pans out to be a pretty intense ride with plenty of death, sadness, and rocket ships to the stars. It’s what dreams are made of!
As stated, the earth of Broken World is 48 hours away from complete and utter annihilation and for our protagonist, Elena Marlowe, the meteor is but one of her many worries. The world’s governments have provided passages to space ships for those deemed worthy and she, unlike her family, was not going to get on. Driven by a secret that has prevented her from a ticket, she desperately looks for a way on to the last rocket. As her and the rest of the citizens count down the clock, the crazy starts coming out of the woodwork and we soon see how the rest of the world is dealing with the impending doom. Let’s just say, it’s not that well.
Broken World is billed as the only original release by writer Frank J. Barbiere of 2015, indicating he must have a pretty busy year ahead. Having written for practically every major comic company in the industry, his original world skills are just as sharp as his established universe ones. He creates a story that doesn’t only harp on crazy people facing death from above, but explores what’s driving these people as well. The comic sweeps through panels crowded with religious fanatics, existentialist fuddy-duddies, and the blind hope of children in an attempt to create a connection between you and its doomed world. It’s definitely a work that, while using a pretty common trope of ‘comet coming at the Earth,’ takes it one step further and shows you the overwhelming hopelessness of facing the upcoming apocalypse.
The one drawback I would consider is perhaps that it’s a bit too obvious of a story. I found myself spacing out a bit when I hit the explanatory walls of text every time someone talked about their plans for the comet. Of course the religious followers are going to kill themselves and of course there are going to be riots; notions as old as time. While I’m sure the point of the comic is to be somewhat deeper than your average hack and slash, it’s not anything that hasn’t been done before. That being said, I suggest sticking it out just for the interesting ending. Build-up wise, you really don’t see it coming. Either way, Broken World is good for what it is and leads to a pretty serious ending, but lacks the originality to make it outstanding. But as I always say, first issues are only launching pads.