Art by: Colin Lorimer
Published by: BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios is steadily gaining prestige for their treatment and selection of creator-owned series. In just a few years the publisher has become incredibly relevant, especially to the readership of sites like Capeless, these aren’t paint-by-numbers superhero tales but deep, imaginative works from top talent in the industry. With “Burning Fields #2” the creative team of Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel and Colin Lorimer are on their way to producing perhaps my personal favourite series, and easily one of the best that BOOM! has ever published.
Co-writers Moreci and Daniel handle the complex situation in Iraq with more nuance and intelligence than nearly any other work I’ve read or seen on the subject. At a time when American Sniper is setting January box office records for a gung-ho flick about a terribly developed character, “Burning Fields #2” gives us rich, complex character right out of the gate and an incredibly interesting plot to keep us going.
A fair amount of time seems to need to pass before we can look back on conflicts with any sort of honesty. Many pieces on the Iraq War and the subsequent years of toiling against this faction and that terror cell has usually been pretty goddamned biased one way or the other. “Burning Fields #2” presents a balanced narrative with Iraqi characters that are relatable and interesting and American characters with both altruism and greed at the heart of their personalities. “Burning Fields #2” even has the balls to tell us who to cheer for and doesn’t thread an annoyingly ambiguous path like, say, Zero Dark Thirty.
Shots fired against movies in this review, huh? Well, the majority of the Iraq fiction or semi-fiction as may be the case, has come in the form of films, but there is a rich amount of content to be found in the conflict regardless of the medium. Moreci, Daniel and Lorimer wade into relatively untested waters for comics and the result is an eminently readable series of the highest order with enough intrigue and spookiness to keep the stakes high.
Lorimer’s art-style is perfectly suited to gritty crime fiction. The Middle Eastern setting provides a realistic setting that plays to Lorimer’s strengths and the ruination of the city creates a wonderful sense of atmosphere that transports us with the characters to a place where people refuse to rebuild because of the likelihood another conflict with break out and destroy their home again. The hopelessness of many real Iraqi city’s is captured by Lorimer on the comic page.
When things get gruesome and dark the art is at its best. I discovered Lorimer when I read Harvest an Image series from a few years ago, and Burning Fields allows him to portray violent murders and horrific corpses with a tinge of the unknown, things that drew me to his work originally. In a brief Twitter chat with Michael Moreci today, he said “Colin…man, Colin is SO good. Amazing craftsman,” and frankly, I can’t say it any better myself.
It’s hard to come up with something that “Burning Fields #2” doesn’t nail; the setting is grounded and believable, the characters are compelling, the plot is captivating, tense and well-paced, the tone and atmosphere convey as much, if not more, to the reader than the well-written dialogue and panel framing. This is a great start for a limited series and I have every expectation that over the next few months this will continue to be one of BOOM! Studios’ best titles.
“Burning Fields #2” earns 8.7/10