Mild Spoilers Ahead
It is thousands of years into the future. In that time, the Solar Empire has risen, expanded, and fallen apart. They spread across most of the galaxy, seeding “Goldilocks Worlds” with natural preserves to allow the local species to grow, evolve, and develop uninterrupted. The Solar Empire is now fallen and the galaxy is fractured and fighting itself. We meet a courier named Nehu Nori Sood as she is given an especially dangerous job. It takes her to the Bouweriz sector and she arrives just in time to witness a deadly standoff between a crimelord and an assassin.
“Jonathan Hickman is at it again,” is what repeatedly ran through my mind while reading Decorum #1. The legendary writer, known for crafting vast, sprawling stories with several moving parts, has created another one that spreads across an entire galaxy. And, he’s doing it so soon after upending the entire X-Men canon at Marvel Comics.
I’m here to tell you that Jonathan Hickman is indeed at it again with Decorum. He’s set us in the far future after the fall of the Solar Empire and the galaxy is fractured and at risk of being controlled by several potentially dangerous factions. Of course, it’s apparent in the first section that the Solar Empire wasn’t innately benevolent either.
I didn’t list everything we learn about the Solar Empire, the Church of the Singularity, and the Syndicate Major in this comic. True to form, Hickman drops in a few text dumps that give us the backstory on these factions and the history of Decorum’s universe. I’d almost be inclined to call that cheating in this primarily visual format if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s all so damn interesting.
In all of this sprawling galactic drama, we do focus in on a character about midway through the book. That character is the aforementioned Nehu. She’s world-weary but still has a hint of daring and youthful spirit to her. She’s an endearing and engaging lead character and it’s easy to root for her.
Mike Huddleston’s artwork in this one can only be described as stunning and bonkers. The opening sequence is a gorgeous painted segment showing a struggle between one of the species in the Solar Empire’s preserves and unknown assailants (either from the Shattered Empire or the Church of the Singularity). Nehu’s section is illustrated, and it looks fantastic as well. The coloring style ranges from beautiful tapestries to grayscale with colored portions. It looks great, even if there are some parts where I find myself unsure of what I’m looking at exactly. That is a bit of a bother, but the good far outweighs the bad in this regard.
Decorum #1 introduces its readers to a massive new world with a vast history, but it also begins the tale of a woman doing a dangerous job to save her family. It’s insane, incredibly ambitious, and all-around absorbing. The story, the history lessons, and the visuals all work together to craft an unforgettable experience, and this first issue easily earns a recommendation. Give it a read.
Decorum #1 come to us from writer Jonathan Hickman, artist and cover artist Mike Huddleston, and letterer Rus Wooton.
Final Score: 9.5/10
Mild Spoilers Ahead