In the distant future, Tiya and her father are under the thumb of a ruthless local mob boss named Ketta. Her family has been split up with her mother and brother, Diviran, stuck in jail and fighting for their lives. She wants nothing more than to rescue them, but that’s easier said than done. Unbeknownst to her, Div has a plan of his own, augmenting his body to save his mother and put down the people oppressing his family.
Eliteware has a lot going on in its first three issues and we’re dropped right into the middle of it. There are complex rules about this futuristic society, however they’re not very clear at first. It feels like we jump in a few chapters into this story, like starting Star Wars with The Empire Strikes Back.
Writer Mike DeCosta establishes the characters well between Tiya and Div. Although they’re separated, they have a similar attitude and a strong conviction. They’re scrappy. While we only see her for a few pages, Ketta dominates every scene she’s in. Her appearance is deceiving as she looks like a soccer mom, but she’s clearly a conniving and deadly adversary.
Eliteware takes a shift between its first and second issues in more ways than one. It switches artists, going from Jim Hanna to Eryn Williams, as well as changes the focus from Tiya to Div. The shift in artwork isn’t that jarring as the styles are close enough, with Williams expanding upon the sci-fi world Hanna establishes in the first chapter. The move between main characters feels more abrupt as we spend the vast majority of the first issue with Tiya, only to have her fall back to a secondary character by the following two issues. Since we weren’t as invested in Div, it takes a little while to build momentum back up again.
The settings for Eliteware are science-fiction through and through, yet maintains some basics of present day design. You’ll have flying vehicles instead of cars, but they’ll zoom up to apartment buildings. It’s a nice mix that keeps the book grounded. Yes, we’re dealing with alien planets, but these are still human beings trying to live their lives.
Eliana Falcon’s colors go hand-in-hand with this idea. The world looks clean and futuristic with bright colors, but they’re often offset by grit and shadows. It’s like these people worked so hard to build this that they still have dirt under their fingernails. The big blue sky can be seen up above, giving the characters something to hope for and aspire to, but it’s just out of their reach.
Williams also handles the lettering for Eliteware, guiding us through this vast collection of alien worlds. One stand out is how announcements or robotic voices are handled. They appear in rectangular word balloons with some added flair to them, often startling the people they’re speaking to with their unnatural sound.
Eliteware has some good things going for it, however this early on it feels a little jumbled. I am curious to see how all these pieces fit together. The action definitely heats up as the series progresses. This family has been through quite a lot and their fight is far from over.