I am a sucker for apocalyptic stories. If a story centers around some freak occurrence with utterly devastating changes to the world and its main characters, I'm going to read it, watch it, etc. Build that story around love, loss, and a relatable character dealing with both and I'm almost certainly going to enjoy it. It's because of that preference that going into Image Comics' adaptation of Joe Hill's novella Rain I knew I'd likely enjoy it, but now that Rain #1 is here it's more than my preference that has me eager for more. Adapted by David M. Booher with art by Zoe Thorogood, colors by Chris O'Halloran, and letters by Shawn Lee, Rain #1 is the heartbreakingly well-done opening chapter of a tale wherein it feels less like the freak event defines our character, but the horrors of love, loss and how both can alter you in an instant.
Rain #1 provides readers the story of Honeysuckle, a young woman having what was, in the grand scheme of things, an ordinary day but a day that was extraordinary for her: the day her girlfriend, Yolanda, was moving in with her. Unfortunately, that ordinary-extraordinary day becomes one of absolute horror when it starts raining nails—more accurately, lethal shards of crystal—suddenly on a beautiful summer day. The story is told, essentially, in flashback. Honeysuckle walks us through that fateful day as she lived it, her narration offering readers important details about her own life and love story with Yolanda, while also making it very clear from the jump that this is a day that ends in grief and blood with Honeysuckle one of the few left alive, if one can really feel alive after watching the only person they love die brutally.
It's this presentation of the story that not only works beautifully for the story as an adaptation, but also allows the reader to invest immediately in Honeysuckle and her world. While narration like this sometimes comes off as a shortcut in the storytelling or falls flat, Booher not only sets the scene, but crafts Honeysuckle's voice in a way where you can sense within the words on the page that this is a woman still processing trauma. You feel her pain long before you get to the page where that pain is delivered, and it is no small feat. However, when paired with Thorogood's art and especially O'Halloran's warm, muted colors, you truly feel as though you're being let into not just an account of what happened, but a critical memory, one that is clear yet tinted with nostalgia. It's obvious that Honeysuckle would give anything to go back, would do anything for a different outcome. There's something hauntingly resonant about that, especially as it is presented here.
While it will be interesting to see where Rain goes from here, the first issue is genuinely outstanding. From the way it crafts the narrative and its characters to how it visually presents the complexities of an unexpected apocalypse, the loss it brings, and the lesson about love that both its protagonist and the reader doesn't see coming, Rain #1 feels like a masterpiece of human emotion. I can't wait to see where it goes next.
Published by Image Comics
On January 12, 2022
Written by David M. Booher and Joe Hill
Art by Zoe Thorogood
Colors by Chris O'Halloran
Letters by Shawn Lee
Cover by Zoe Thorogood