Cooking Up A Storm
Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Cundle reviews Image’s The Weatherman Volume One, out now in trade paperback…
The Weatherman Volume One
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letters: Steve Wands
Every once in a while, a comic that has appeared out of nowhere bowls you over and leaves incapable of speech and rational thought. It reaches inside your cerebellum, stirs up your neurons, causing them to fire out of sequence and challenges your self-imposed ideas concerning the way in which stories are told. The Weatherman is one of those comics. Refusing to follow, or abide by, established science fiction tropes and stereotypes, Jody LeHup has drawn a number of disparate sources whose work while, existing simultaneously with the same genre, couldn’t be more different. Taking inspiration from Robert Heinlein, Harry Harrison, Richard Morgan, Philip K Dick and John Wagner, The Weatherman is a comic unlike any other you’ll read.
Set on Mars during the twentyeighth century, The Weatherman is the story of Nathan Bright, a beloved television meteorologist and innocent who finds himself caught in the middle of the biggest manhunt in human history. Following the decimation of all life on Earth in a terrorist attack seven years before the story begins, every branch of law enforcement has been furiously scrambling to seek and arrest any, and every, member of the Sword of God, the group responsible for wiping out every living being on Earth. A herculean and thankless task made all the more difficult by the near constant barrage of questions and demand for answers from every surviving human in the Solar System, the investigation finally makes some progress and arrests a suspect, the aforementioned Nathan Bright. The only problem is, the inoffensive weatherman doesn’t remember anything about his life before the Sword of God’s attack on Earth and certainly doesn’t fit the profile of a highly trained and motivated terrorist, but when he’s taken into custody, he becomes the most vilified and hated man on Mars. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles, as he ends up being bounced from pillar to post by the security forces, bounty hunters and crazed billionaires, all of whom either desperately want to know the truth about the Sword of God or want to use Nathan to further their own agendas and it isn’t long before Nathan begins to not only doubt who he is, but also who he was.
The Weatherman is one of those stories that refuses to bow to convention and gleefully tears up the rulebook as it ploughs through its plot in less time than it took the Millennium Falcon to make the Kessel Run. It’s a glorious collision of all of the best elements that the aforementioned writers pioneered, that questions the nature of identity and individuality while telling a fantastic breakneck tale that thrives on black humour, razor sharp dialogue, faultless characterisation and the inspirational and imaginative Jamie McKelvie influenced artwork of Nathan Fox. This is proper world- building space opera that’s reduced to its smallest constituent parts and rebuilt from the ground up in order to emphasise the importance and validity of individuality while its allegorical undercurrent attempts to make some sense of, and understand , the collective madness and hysteria that shrouded the world following the very real, and incredibly tragic events of September 11th, 2001. Science fiction doesn’t get much better than this. Tim Cundle
The Weatherman trade paperback is out now from Image Comics