A Martian weatherman can’t forecast the shitstorm about to rain down on his life. Our review—and especially the official synopsis—will contain spoilers.
Written by Jody Leheup
Illustrated by Nathan Fox
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Steve Wands
Nathan Bright had it all: an awesome girlfriend, a kickass dog, and a job as the number one weatherman on terraformed Mars. But when he’s accused of carrying out the worst terrorist attack in human history—an event that wiped out nearly the entire population of Earth—Nathan becomes the most wanted man alive and a target of a manhunt that spans the galaxy. But is Nathan truly responsible for such a horrific crime? And why can’t he remember? Writer JODY LEHEUP (SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER!), artist NATHAN FOX (DMZ, HAUNT, Dark Reign: Zodiac), and colorist DAVE STEWART (Hellboy, RUMBLE) present a full-throttle, widescreen science fiction epic about the damage we do in the name of justice and what it truly means to be redeemed…You don’t want to miss THE WEATHERMAN!
With Earth all but gone, citizens of Redd Bay rely on Nathan Bright to help them laugh and forget. Everyday, the Martian weatherman gets “clever with the weather,” bringing his unique brand of meteorological reporting to the news. He forecasts the weather with such zingers like “perfect weather for a trip to the bone zone” or “temperatures won’t get much higher than I am now, which is still pretty high.” Viewers seem to think it’s funnier than it actually is, but perhaps humor has devolved into a more juvenile flavor after 700 years and a change of planet. Still, Nathan Bright’s happy-go-lucky attitude contrasts nicely with the aforementioned shitstorm that will devastate his life. His good humor will face the ultimate test of endurance after the events of this issue. It’ll be interesting to witness how much humor is left in Bright when #2 hits next month.
Mars of 2770, is a planet so terraformed it might as well be Earth. In fact, there is nothing to visually suggest the Martian setting other than the location subtitle at the outset. It’s a red planet no longer. Maybe it’s an odd complaint to make, but the city feels decidedly Earthy, just another futuristic city: traffic jams, holograms, a smattering of airships in the sky. The city of Redd Bay could’ve benefitted from a clearer visual identity with more Martian characteristics. However, it may all well be intentional because there isn’t much of an Earth to come home to. For all intents and purposes, Mars is the new Earth.
The characters are all ciphers at this point, nothing more than surface affectations. Nathan loves his dog, has a veracious appetite, and possesses a mildly amusing sense of humor and some earth-shattering secrets, apparently. But what does Nathan really want? In this debut issue, he’s merely a passive player in which events happen to, a slacker barely making it to work on time. According to some behind-the-scenes technicians, he plays an important role in the community by making them forget the tragedy of their home planet. He also courts a grad school student and bartender named Amanda, who doesn’t treat him like the local celebrity he is and, wouldn’t you know it, also harbors dangerous secrets. Bounty hunters straight out of “East of West” come into play later to kick the story into high gear. The answers that are surely coming will hopefully bring another dimension to the characters’ motivations.
Nathan Fox remedies any perceived hiccups in the script with wondrously dynamic art. Fox captures Nathan’s goofy sensibilities with ease, nailing the comedic expressions: a subtle lip bite when he flirts with a coworker or his bulging cheeks while nervously overeating as well as Nathan’s abject horror and confused defeat at the end. Fox also excels at action scenes. Once the first bullet is fired, the rest of the issue unfurls at breakneck velocity. Smoke curls from spent shells during frenetic gunplay, small diagonal panels highlight specific body damage, and limbs and weapons swing with speed lines. A warm color palette flows throughout the issue, filling in Fox’s work. The rusty red-orange hues of Mars lives on in Nathan’s tropical shirt, car, and Amanda’s hair, as well as solid backgrounds to the later action.Continued below
Steve Wands’s letters also give “The Weatherman” a unique visual identity. As the most underappreciated profession in comics, Steve Wands continues to be the auteur of letters, maintaining an identifiable style while simultaneously morphing it to suit the art of each comic. Here, his typeface is similar to “Gideon Falls,” but with thicker, clearer lines that suit Nathan Fox’s inking.
There are some great ideas here (corporations can purchase agreeable weather, which then must be amended by the news networks, and of course, the general premise of a weatherman on Mars) but given the catastrophic finale of this issue, weather is likely the last thing on Nathan Bright’s mind. In some ways, and dependent on reader expectations, “The Weatherman” doesn’t fully capitalize on its premise. Instead of exploring the ins and outs of Martian meteorology and what it means to be alive in such a time, we receive a far less innovative and much more familiar story of bounty hunters, undercover agents, and bloody action.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – An ingenious premise marred by formulaic execution, “The Weatherman” #1 nevertheless features dazzling art.