*Contains mild spoilers*
Future Echoes is the new 3 issue mini series by Al Davison and Yen Quach that tells the story of a sceptical professor who is left questioning his beliefs, his senses and the boundaries of reality itself when he enters a suspected haunted house.
The first issue of Future Echoes introduces the reader to Harlan Woodbine, a straight-talking pragmatic professor who happens to use a wheelchair. We first meet Harlan when the contractors renovating an old mansion that once belonged to renowned artist Mortimer-Samson Vine suddenly down tools and report paranormal goings-on. Harlan and his high-tech team of scientists are urgently called upon and head to Paris to investigate.
Harlan is a fiercely logical and highly educated man who has no time for tales of things that go bump in the night and is determined to find a rational explanation for the claims.
So with the use of sophisticated technology and some mobility-aiding mod cons, Harlan moves in to the archaic building overnight to conduct numerous tests and analyses. But when a brutal thunderstorm throws his world into turmoil and a pretty young lady appears before his eyes, Harlan realises this case may not be as clear-cut as he once thought.
In the opening panels of issue two the reader sees a flabbergasted Harlan get to know his fiery new housemate; a beautiful, paralysed redhead named Amelia Stone. Harlan is forced to re-assess everything he believes, as Amelia states she is being held prisoner within the walls of the mansion in the year of our Lord 1895. The pages turn and the pair of confused companions debate each others existences, their sanities and the very nature of time as untold revelations come to the fore.
The third and final chapter of the tale is an enthralling roller-coaster ride that sees backstories filled in, plotlines tied up and dimensions hopped before culminating in a twist that would leave even the most deductive reader’s mouth agape.
Al Davison and Yen Quach’s mini series is a tale overflowing with creative innovation from its composition to its narrative structure and is nigh impossible to fault.
The inspired decision for Davison to draw the male characters and Quach to illustrate the female characters gives these comics a truly unique look. The varied and contrasting styles the two creators utilise across the 3 issues somehow never seem to clash and achieve many nuanced page layouts.
Their choice to share the writing duties was equally effective and gave the dialogue an organic flow.
However, the true innovation of this story is most apparent in its protagonists. Two characters with disabilities who haven’t simply been added to the plot for a bit of token diversity or tear-jerking tragedy, they are three-dimensional creations upon whom the entire story pivots. It is a perfect example of the kind of inclusive, multifaceted work that needs to be seen across other mediums and the powers-that-be within those mediums should wake up and take note.
Future Echoes is a time-twisting, genre-bending tale of limit-defying romance that is like nothing else found in comics today.