Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Sumeyye Kesgin
Colors: Ron Riley
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
A review by Rich Schepis
Pioneers throughout history have never produced the amount of speculation that Amelia Earhart’s disappearance has provided in the 80 years since her disappearance. Copperhead scribe Jay Faerber throws his hat into the ring with the theory that she did not die in the Pacific, but instead was transported to an alien world in Elsewhere #1. Sumeyye Kesgin joins Faerber to illustrate her first monthly comic series, as the duo attempts to unravel the mystery of what happened to the famed aviator and women’s trailblazer.
Clicking from page one, the creative duo’s debut collaboration is a terrific work of discovery. Despite taking place on an alien world, Faerber populates Elsewhere #1 with recognizable archetypes and humor, bringing an instant relatability. This allows the reader an unfettered immersing into Earhart’s present predicament. Meanwhile, it becomes evident throughout the story’s initial panels that Kesgin is the perfect choice to illustrate this story. Her camera angles are inspired, especially during the comic’s opening sequence – which includes wonderful detail in her presentation of a fantastic skyscape (and just wait until the two-page spread).
Emotionalism is where Kesgin really impresses, as her characters demonstrate a range of feelings in their facial expressions, eyes and body posture, all the while performing other tasks (like running for their lives). While Earhart’s bravado allows her to champion her will and present a confidence that would belie her true quandary, Faerber and Kesgin allow a contemplative moment that show’s an unexpected vulnerability in the protagonist. A few of the page’s panels are presented without dialogue, as Kesgin wonderfully portrays Earhart’s realization that she is out of her depth and only instinct keeps her moving forward. Kesgin presents a character that is attempting to keep it all together for a little while longer, before finally be able to release all the emotions she is holding valiantly within.
Rescued by a pair of strangers, Earhart is now caught up in their plight. Everything happens at such a breakneck speed, she really never has a moment to contemplate what is truly happening to her. Yet, instinct takes over especially when her compatriots discover a potential escape from their current dilemma.
“You’re asking me if I’m comfortable flying.” Any consideration of Earhart as a character (let alone a real person) portrays this moment during the flight with multiple layers of consideration. Freed and now on the lam with her new “friends,” Earhart’s ability to function equally is never questioned. She is treated as one of them. While the moment is played for its obvious humor, it also becomes a deft nod to Earhart’s legacy – she courageously pushed a pro-feminist agenda (early supporter of the Equal Right’s Amendment, member of the National Women’s Party and founder of the first organization for female pilots – The Ninety Nines) in the beginning of the 20th century.
Readers should be immediately comforted that the story’s heroine and protagonist will not have to deal with 20th century male insecurities, prejudices and intimidation. With so many past stories in popular culture being attacked for its-then portrayal of women, it’s reassuring to see that Faerber leaves those ideas behind (which is not the first time he has shown this type of narrative – his Copperhead protagonist is a female sheriff).
Buy It! Come for the fascinating concept, enjoy the beautifully-formed partnership of Faerber and Kesgin, revel in Earhart’s plight, and stay for the stunning reveal on Elsewhere #1’s final page. It is evident Faerber has a lot up his sleeve with this story than just what happened to Amelia Earhart. Readers will immediately want to add Elsewhere to their monthly pull after experiencing all the issue has to offer.
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