Lightstep Debuts With Gorgeous Artwork And An Intriguing But Flawed Narrative
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
January Lee is a descendant of the Primogenitor and among a race of ruling elites, all of whom are descendants of the Primogenitor. They work to perfect themselves, modeling themselves and their society after the Primogenitor, and purging the universe of the impure degenerates. Her brother is a 97% genetically akin to the Primogenitor, and the Lee family will be able to partake in a bloody ritual before January’s brother ascends to the Alpha Regent.
Lightstep #1 presents the reader with a futuristic society where slavish devotion to genetic purity is allowed to be taken to its horrific final endpoint by technology. January Lee lives in a fascistic society where eugenics are the religion, and she knows something is wrong.
One negative thing that stands out about Lightstep is that January Lee already knows something is wrong with her homeworld when we join her. That takes some of the energy out of the narrative, as we don’t know what is driving her to rebel against it. This may be covered later, but it would be good to know her motivation from the outset.
The comic doesn’t try to present this society as positive or peaceful in any way; the comic opens with January’s class reciting their need to protect the genetically pure and wipe out degeneracy. That’s not a new tactic, but it does make the big bloody finale to the issue less impactful. The final scenes are presented almost like a big surprise, but it doesn’t especially shock. The comic spends its entire runtime setting up this warped society.
The comic does acknowledge that there are health consequences to the titanic inbreeding at play here.
Also, there is another twist about the celestial body on which January lives moving faster than any other planet in this galactic civilization. However, it doesn’t really come into play in this issue beyond it being a status symbol because time moves slower for January’s people.
What arguably stands out more than anything else is the gorgeous visual design of this comic. The clothing, technology, and overall aesthetic of Lightstep is beautifully decadent and takes more than a few notes from Greek and Roman antiquity. Milos Slavkovic does wonderful work on both the linework and the color art, and it is what had me glued to the page whenever the written narrative wavered.
Lightstep #1 is an interesting, if slightly flawed, introduction to a new world of decadence, eugenics, and high science fiction. January Lee has potential as a protagonist, but there needs to be more to her than curiosity and ennui. The visuals of the comic are the real all-star, as Slavkovic does wonderful work here. It’s enough to earn this comic a recommendation. Check it out.
Lightstep #1 comes to us from writers Milos Slavkovic and Mirko Topalski, artist Milos Slavkovic, letterer Andrej Bunjac, and cover artist Milos Slavkovic with Dave Stewart.