New direction for Kiwi comic crew Faction with High Water
3 Bad Monkeys
Faction / edited by Damon Keen
High Water is a departure for the Kiwi comics crew behind the Faction series of anthologies, who this time focus on climate change as the theme for a special edition.
The production values and the message will be lost on climate-change deniers, but from a strictly comics perspective, the Faction team are consistently producing high-quality work. This is their fourth book, and they have quickly become a credible force on New Zealand's pop culture scene.
Eleven artists contribute, including some big names of New Zealand comics , but the star of this show is Damon Keen for his Lotus Eaters, a staccato, time-lapse vision of a poisoned Auckland future that Keen has made look hauntingly realistic.
Ross Murray contributes a brief, wordless but exquisitely rendered dive into the ocean depths down to a cityscape below an oil rig.
Chris Slane brings humour and his distinctive watercolour style in depicting a martyred, tortured climate-change denier.
Christian Pearce expands on his cover art for Faction #2 - this time we see the gory results when the giant mutant crab of Wellington is wired up.
Dylan Horrocks uses a future traveller's personal effects, including postcards (remember them?) as a device to hint at a drastically changed world. But the drawback here is that there's a lot of small, handwritten text and it's not easy to read.
In contrast, Katie O'Neill's clearl-line style in Below the Waves is effective and vivid, even if her theme is similar to Murray's.
Overall, a high-quality publication, again.