The Weatherman #1
Jody Leheup (writer), Nathan Fox (artist), Dave Stewart (colorIST)
June 13th, 2018
The Weatherman #1 is the action-packed first chapter in the story of Nathan Bright, a complex and curious young man whose blatant insecurity manifests in a persistent fake swagger, a nervous habit of eating his feelings, and a heavy dose of charming naivete. The Weatherman #1 takes place during a single day, from morning to evening. We first meet Amanda, an important character later in the issue, as she goes through her morning. Then we see Nathan’s morning too. He brushes his teeth with his affectionate Golden Retriever Sadie, and listens to local news on the radio. Oh, and he lives on Mars.
This sequence is part of the clever and enjoyable writing in The Weatherman that moves the story forward without droll explanations or lengthy narrations meant to inform the reader of every moment of the history of the comic before it started. Writer Jody Leheup keeps us on our toes as we observe Nathan and Sadie’s morning. If we want to learn about what Martian life is like, we have to “listen” to the radio too. We also learn a lot about the emotional maturity of the character in his first scene. He is late for work, but still takes the time to casually play with his dog. He is in no hurry. Sadie, who accompanies him everywhere, is definitely one of my favorite characters in The Weatherman #1.
Nathan Bright easily enchants the people of Mars, and admittedly this reader, at his job as the Martian TV weatherman, where he uses a campy attitude and classically “inappropriate” humor to connect with his audience. We are made to believe that he also enchants Amanda, a redhead who seems to sweetly patronize Nathan when they hang out. We see Amanda behave kindly towards an older lady in her first scene, which gives us a sense of her potential for compassion. She may be the only person who can truly put up with this ham of a young man, someone who behaves like a privileged person, even when shit seems to hit the fan. The Weatherman #1 seems to be a relatively simple day in the life of Nathan Bright for the first two thirds of the comic book, but eventually we see the mysterious turn of events that sets up the series for Nathan and Amanda.
The world of Mars is brought to life by Nathan Fox. In every panel it feels absolutely real. Fox took the time on this book to incorporate textured detail in every scene, from the way that Sadie’s fur moves while the pair zooms off to the TV station to the little digital screen details on Nathan Bright’s preparatory floating computer sphere. Movement is a huge part of Fox’s skill in conveying a story that moves the reader from panel to panel, eager to see what happens. Even the line work has a texture and sketchy quality to it that looks like natural pencil strokes. The incredible shading and perfect lines both contribute to the vibe that though this comic book feels loose, it has absolutely undergone the artistic scrutiny of an excellent illustrator. It’s nice to see texture on faces, clothing, and atmosphere.
While we’re talking about the illustration, the colors done by Dave Stewart deserve a mention. The earthy palette of The Weatherman #1 adds to the natural feel of Fox’s illustrations. Society on Mars is a color-diverse place much like Earth, and even though it is the year 2720 and another planet, humans still wear bright Hawaiian shirts and colorful, fruity cocktails still come in martini glasses. Action scenes possess explosions of color that prompted a re-read of those scenes, with a new focus on different parts of the pretty panels each time.
There is no doubt that Leheup, Fox, and Stewart worked hard to achieve the aesthetic harmony that is The Weatherman #1. It’s a comic full of spaceships, wild action, beautiful landscapes, violent shock moments, and raucous characters. I truly enjoyed it, and if you love any of those things you will too!