With the current landscape of science fiction being heavily dominated by sequels and reboots, it isn't as common today for a brand new sci-fi property to get much mainstream notoriety. However, while Hollywood is happy to stick with Star Wars and Star Trek, the genre is currently thriving in comics.
This is perfectly exemplified by Judy LeHeup and Nathan Fox's The Weatherman, published by Image Comics. The Weatherman is a very unique and versatile comic that is truly unlike any other science fiction series of its scope, yet, as is the case with many comics published by Image, it is primarily consumed by a niche audience. Considering the series' numerous strengths, this is really a shame. So, here are 10 Reasons Why The Weatherman is The Best Sci-Fi Comic You're Not Reading!
10 Nathan Bright
There isn't another sci-fi protagonist quite like Nathan Bright. Nathan is introduced as a goofy, self-styled Casanova of a weatherman, one who incorporates humor and gags into his report. However, while we won't give too much away, shortly after the story begins, Nathan Bright is revealed to be the individual responsible for the largest terrorist attack humanity has ever seen, causing the deaths of billions.
As one would expect, this leads to all of humanity calling for Nathan's death. What makes Nathan a compelling character, however, is the fact that this information is just as much of a surprise to Nathan as it is to the reader, as he has virtually no recollection of performing such a heinous act, and genuinely believes himself to be innocent. Thus begins Nathan Bright's story to try and survive against the rest of the human race.
Nathan Bright isn't a trained killer, a brave adventurer, or a charismatic swindler, like many other protagonists in science fiction. He's just a normal human being fighting for his right to exist.
9 Ian Black
Ian Black is the closest thing to a central antagonist in The Weatherman, although not in a conventional sense. While the antagonist is usually fought in the present and is a force that the protagonist is working to overcome, Ian Black is an antagonist who no longer exists. Also, technically, he is Nathan Bright.
Remember how we mentioned that Nathan does not remember committing a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of billions? That was because it was done by Black, the vilest terrorist to ever live.
Black covers his tracks by overwriting his personality and memories with those of a person who never existed, in this case, Nathan Bright. So now in the present, Nathan must deal with the consequences of Black's actions, despite having no memory of ever committing them.
8 Agent Cross
The term "strong female character" is thrown around a lot these days, but few characters exemplify that title more than Agent Cross. The secondary protagonist after Nathan Bright, Agent Cross is disciplined and motivated. Basically, she is the complete opposite of Nathan.
A character with real drive and determination, Cross must protect a person she initially believes to be the most detestable human being alive, although her expectations are eventually subverted. As one of the most competent characters in the series, who also happens to wield the knife equivalent of a lightsaber, it's hard to not love Cross.
7 Innovative Action
Science Fiction inherently allows for extremely interesting forms of action to transpire that need to be freed from the constraints defined by contemporary technology. The Weatherman is no exception to this trend, incorporating scenes that put the series' style and flair on full display.
With fight scene's reminiscent of lightsaber duels and an instance in which an assassin is airdropped out from the planet's orbit just to cut a man in half, The Weatherman's action is so over the top and amazing that it would feel like a crime to not mention it.
6 Constantly Evolving
As much as we hate to admit it, a problem that often plagues many science fiction series is an inevitable stagnation and recycling of ideas, often leading to series that feel as though they are repeating themselves.
This has been noted most recently with Star Wars, as many were quick to point out the similarities between The Force Awakens and A New Hope. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, The Weatherman is changing the status quo, incorporating new ideas and elements as soon as the reader is about to get too comfortable.
5 The Best of Both Worlds
There are many benefits to a series being written as either a serialized, ongoing story or an episodic collection of shorter tales. However, The Weatherman is framed in a manner that allows for the benefits of both of these storytelling methods to be utilized.
While every issue cohesively transitions into the next, no two chapters are alike, with each providing their own sense of flair and variety.
4 Setting, Setting, Setting
One of the strongest aspects of The Weatherman is its exemplary utilization of its fleshed-out setting. The story is constantly changing location, as the characters travel across planets, with two of the strongest examples being Mars and Earth.
Following the largest-scale terrorist attack in the history of humanity, the human race finds a new home in a terraformed Mars composed primarily of a massive, futuristic city. In the wake of the attack on the planet, the Earth takes the form of an excessively apocalyptic wasteland, with the streets adorned with human skeletons.
3 Art & Emotion
While any form of art is inherently subjective, the visuals presented in The Weatherman are nothing short of phenomenal. The expressive nature of Jody LeHeup's art does the series wonders, accentuating scenes or comedy, action, and even horror, giving a real sense of life and energy to every scene.
Many of the series' most pivotal and emotional moments wouldn't be nearly as effective if not for the raw emotion and life displayed in every panel.
2 Synthwave Incarnate
The '80s-inspired Synthwave movement has garnered a cult following in recent years, with the song "Resonance" by HOMEaccumulating over 55 million views on youtube. However, Synthwave has yet to produce a larger scale work that is based around its aesthetic.
Or, that used to the case before The Weatherman. The comic's neon pallet, art direction, and setting are fully immersed in Synthwave. The creators of the series have uploaded a Synthwave soundtrack for the comic that is available for free online.
1 Moral Ambiguity
With the existence of forces like the Empire in Star Wars, the Borg in Star Trek, and Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element, it is not uncommon for the antagonistic force in a large scale science fiction story to be a cartoonishly evil force for the hero to overcome. However, in The Weatherman, things are not so simple.
Given the nature of Nathan Bright's backstory, instead of having a central antagonist, all of humanity is going up against our protagonist. This conflict works because the antagonist force is completely justified in their hatred due to the horrible atrocities leveled at Bright. This allows the reader to both empathize with the protagonist as well as those who oppose him.