On a long-term mission in space aboard the SS Kitsune, a lone explorer reflects on his years of solitude and a voyage where human contact seems almost like a distant memory. Tracking a distress call he discovers a tiny black pyramid the size of his hands; one that would have been invisible had it not passed in front of a nearby star. Taking a trip outside the ship while tethered to his craft into the vacuum of space, the astronaut locates the strange object. On closer study he realises it’s a portal to a lush and verdant forest world; one that he finds himself transported to. But what is the reality of this unlikely artefact and is everything about it really what it seems…?
Daniel Clough’s Forest reads like a superior 2000 AD Future Shocks entry. This short self-published comic lasts just 16 pages but they’re intelligently and dramatically paced ones, perfectly luring us into its twisting narrative before pulling the rug out from under us as the layers of the story are slowly unpeeled. While Clough’s art is occasionally raw in places his visual storytelling – in terms of atmospheric use of perspective and transitions to full or double-page spreads to emphasise the majesty and/or the mystery of location and events – is one of the strongest components of this one-shot.
Colour plays a significant role in Forest with the intense blacks of the b&w artwork emphasising the deepness of the lonely void the space explorer finds himself in at the beginning of the story and the green hues of the pyramid world symbolising its sense of otherness despite its seemingly familiar environs. An entertaining and accessible one-shot, Forest is a perfect buy for Hackney Comic and Zine Fair attendees looking for a complete-in-one genre comics offering.
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Review by Andy Oliver
Daniel Clough will be exhibiting at Hackney Comic + Zine Fair on Sunday September 8th at Table 39.