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Review: Triage #1 Is An Uneven But Intriguing Labor of Love

Story by
Art by
Phillip Sevy
Colors by
Phillip Sevy
Letters by
Frank Cvetkovic
Cover by
Publisher
Dark Horse Comics

Fan-favorite indie comics writer and artist, Phillip Sevy, makes his first major creator-owned debut in Dark Horse Comics' latest title, the sci-fi miniseries Triage. Writing, drawing, inking and coloring the comic series all by himself (with letters by Frank Cvetkovic), it is clear that the title is a clear labor of love from Sevy's almost entirely singular vision. Ambitious, uneven at times and yet still full of promise, the debut issue is an intriguing start even when it occasionally falters.

Triage follows three different incarnations of the same woman throughout the series' alternate realities. In one world, she is Eve Pierce, a registered nurse in a complicated relationship with her longtime girlfriend as struggles at work leave her frustrated and castigated by her superiors.

Another life reimagines Eve as a superhero defending a futuristic city from all sorts of threats with variety of superpowers. Finally, a third incarnation has Eve as a survivalist leader in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, leading a faction of followers through the ruins of the old world while fighting against a totalitarian regime.

The three visions of the same woman are all on a mysterious collision course that could affect reality as they know it.

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Sevy's premise is certainly a very ambitious one, juggling three wildly different narratives simultaneously for much of the opening issue. The version of Eve as a nurse is the clear focal perspective from this debut issue and Sevy balances the everyday ennui and frustrations of work and home, with the significantly more fantastic stories involving the other two incarnations. The pace never drags despite the clear differences between the leads.

And, befitting his artistic background, Sevy knows when to pull back and let the visuals do the talking rather than overburden the reader with excessive dialogue, even in the issue's quieter moments.

To that end, the visuals are similarly ambitious, almost serving as a showcase of Sevy's artistic potential across the three disparate genres that work as dueling perspectives within the issue. The slice-of-life and post-apocalyptic sequences are particularly well-presented while the art veers into psychedelia and surrealist sensibilities that would make celebrated painter Salvador Dali impressed as Sevy's use of color swirls around the outlandish, otherworldly landscapes of the sci-fi elements meeting a crescendo.

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Having said all this, the issue certainly isn't without its flaws. The triplicate nature of the premise means that the first half or so of the issue feels a bit disjointed. This is likely by design, to intentionally leave readers disoriented until the disparate plot lines eventually converge but is still jarring to experience on the first go-around.

And while Sevy's artwork largely succeeds, especially when he's swinging for the fences with more grandiose visuals, some of his facial work is inconsistent when depicted in close-ups, usually in regards to shading of the facial features and some of the characters' expressions. Fortunately, these issues are few and far in between but they are noticeable at times.

As the sole creator behind Triage, the new Dark Horse Comics miniseries represents the bold, singular vision of Phillip Sevy. Sevy comes out the gate swinging for the fences and, while not all of his swings connect, most of them do, and do so solidly.

Aside from occasional stumbles, the opening issue is full of grandiose scope, ambitious multi-perspective storytelling and psychedelic artwork. And with such varied backgrounds of its leading trio, Sevy has shown himself as a creative talent capable of defying genre to craft an intriguing sci-fi story that plays with the nature of reality and identity itself.

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