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Indie Comics Reading Recommendations

Double Review: Briggs Land #1 and #2

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The concept of secession is an fascinating concept to me. Living in Australia there are no vocal movements so when I hear about one, most recently Brexit, it captures my attention like a dog with a squeaky toy. During the week this fascination was piked again when I read Briggs Land #1 and #2. Written by Brian Wood; art by Mack Chatter; colours by Lee Loughridge; letters by Nate Pikos and published by Dark Horse Comics, Briggs Land is a great new comic about a community of anti-government secessionists and the consequences of their actions.

Many years ago, the Briggs family set up shop a community off the grid in the wilderness to distance themselves from the government. For the longest of time they lived peacefully, but in recent years some of the members have moved into criminal activities. Some of it even terrorism in nature.

Briggs Land #2 cover by Tula Lotay.

With the leader of the family currently running his operations from prison, his wife Grace has decided she has had enough of the criminal element and has taken control of the Briggs Land compound. Her intention is bring it back to the peaceful ways it once way. Although, in making this move she has put a big target on her head from those who disagree with her, as well as the Federal Police.

Over the first two issues Wood successfully introduces the reader to all of the concepts and characters in a way that doesn’t feel like an exposition dump, while at the same time keeping the plot moving. This is done through conversations with other characters, especially with the federal officers who are briefing each other on the case. Additionally, by introducing us incrementally to the community as the story unfolds, instead of all at once, gives the creators more freedom to move. It’s enough information not to be confused, but there are still details left unanswered which has you wanting more.

Wood has assembled an interesting cast of characters in this series. Each has their own voice, making them stand out and unique. We’re slowly learning their motivations and the further this series goes they will become more apparent. But in the mean time, Wood is keeping us guessing as to where their allegiances lie and what motivates them totally.

Briggs Land #1 art by Mack Chater and Lee Loughridge.

Mack Chatter is a fitting pairing for this series. His rough linework couples well with the gritty subject matter and the rural roughness. This is helped by the way that it is inked, which happens to find a good middle ground between tight and appearing loose. He gives plenty of detail when required, but it never muddies the page or detracts from the telling the story.

Aiding in creating the tone is colourist Lee Loughridge. His muted browns and greens portray the harsh rural locations but also hint that they are not as friendly as you might hope. He can also do lighter moments to, with one example being a warm sunset in the opening issue. It’s full of warmth and is a hopeful contrast to the rest of story.

Briggs Land #1 cover by Tula Lotay.

Overall, Briggs Land is a very promising series with a unique premise. The whole creative team has crafted these first two issues which bring the concept to life. Wood has created characters with interesting motivations, but has held back just enough about them to keep the reader wondering what will happen next. Chater’s art gives the series the grittiness it needs to portray the concept, while with Loughridge’s muted colours confirm the tone.

If you dig cable dramas such as Fargo and Justified then you’ll want to read Briggs Land. Which should come to no surprise that the comic is already in development to become a TV drama on AMC. But why wait for the TV series to come out when the comic is so good?

Briggs Land #1 and #2 are available in all good comic book stores as well as on Comixology and the Dark Horse Digital app.

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