Advance Review: `Land of Danger’ #1 Gives A Voice To The Marshallese

The dawn of the Atomic Age in the 1940s and 50s had a huge impact on popular culture. Words like nuclear and radioactive entered the lexicon and soon everyone was fascinated with their impact on everyday lives.

In comics, the X-Men’s mutants were first thought to be brought about because of the rise of atomic weapons, much like Godzilla. But in the Marshall Islands, which was the testing site for 43 US atomic and hydrogen bombs, the feelings run much deeper.

Yet several generations removed from the testing, the island community has come together to offer the world’s first Marshallese superhero, Alex Ikari. Alex discovers that she is a mutant after her super hearing detects a couple of aliens. Her hearing gives her an echolocation superpower, similar to those of bats. Even more practical, though, she’s able to transport herself virtually anywhere through liquids.

The story in Land of Danger deals with how Alex discovers, then uses her powers both for good and for good money. We see her catching a cheating husband as well as uncovering a major polluter.

Unfortunately, the first issue – written by Danity Laukon, Sharla DeBrum, Wayne Kijiner and Andrew Irvin – doesn’t go much deeper than that. The many writers seem to have forgotten the first rule of storytelling: There is no story without conflict. Alex seems like a well-adjusted young woman who has a loving family. When she goes out on assignments, the biggest risk to her is getting noticed by someone. It’s not exactly high stakes here.

Illustrator Nico Toran showcases occasionally inconsistent work in the book. Initial panels, where Alex is younger, are stronger and show the kid more definitively. The look of the older Alex changes a bit from panel to panel. It’s as if Toran spent more time on the book’s initial pages but then rushed through the ending.

While the quality of the story is lacking, it shouldn’t necessarily stop readers from contributing to the crowdfunding campaign that is trying to make this series a reality. Marshallese voices are rare in comics. The book’s proceeds will enable the College of the Marshall Islands to support the development future Marshallese writers, artists and entrepreneurs. It’s a worthy cause.

Land of Danger #1 is currently in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign scheduled to conclude May 31, 2023.

The dawn of the Atomic Age in the 1940s and 50s had a huge impact on popular culture. Words likeCOMICONRead More

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