With the Coronavirus story all over the news, Enenra #1, Markopsia’s new comic about an infected plane arriving in London from Japan, is either incredible prescient, or in very poor taste. However knowing how long it takes to make a comic, we’re assuming it’s the former!
Writer: Aaron Wroblewski
Artist: Ezequiel Rubio
Price: £1.49 from ComiXology
Enenra starts off as a fairly trad post-apocalyptic story of a beardy man wondering around a shopping mall with a dog looking for food – all very The Road/I Am Legend – however the story really begins to find its voice when we flashback and begin to find out who this man is and how he got here. As such the story switches up to become a tense thriller about an infected plane landing in Heathrow, before twisting into an Alien style body horror.
As the pace of the story slows, the action heats up and the tensions that writer Aaron Wroblewski manages to elicit are palpable. The story focuses on the nitty gritty of the landing, as well as some hints at what is happening on the plane, as well as the deployment of MI5 and virologist Richard Marron. It does an excellent job of making the reader edge slowly, but surely, to the edge of their seats as we make assumptions about what is going on in the plane, based on teased images and presumptions based on well worn tropes. We never quite have a handle on what is happening until the big reveal at the end, and even then it is only a partial reveal so we don’t truly find out what is happening at the end of this issue – which is a perfect set up for issue #2 of course!!
The tense story is backed up by some excellent artwork from Ezequiel Rubio. His style is virtually monochrome, with just hints of muddy colours which gives the whole thing a very bleak tone. And there is a very strong use of shadows throughout to create a really dark and foreboding style. There is a hint of Charlie Adlard in there, but it is much more detailed (especially in the horror elements at the end – something which you can see in the startlingly simple yet eye-catching cover) and also Jim Lee’s work on Deathblow back in the day. It also reminded us a lot of Joshua Hixson’s work in the incredible The Plot, with it’s veiny, textured artwork and vintage tone to it. This is especially apparent in the more horrific elements later in this issue.
Enenra is one of those books which really caught us by surprise at how good it ended up being. It built slowly and smartly, setting up characters and scenarios very subtly and cleverly. It didn’t try to do anything too clever and executed what it wanted to do, very well. While it definitely helps that this is a story in the current zeitgeist, even if it wasn’t this is still a really well put together comic that feels like it has a fresh take on a well worn concept. Our main concenr is for it long term, as it is one of those books which will need to continue delivering originality in order to make it work beyond this first issue. As once you get past that initial idea of an infected plane it is stepping a foot into the crowded territory of post-apocalyptic thrillers and making the book continue to stand out from the crowd in that market will not be easy.