Adam Pollina and Dan Abnett have something special in Fallen World. The book fits well within the cyberpunk/post-human sci-fi inclinations of some of Valiant’s main series, such as Bloodshot and Harbinger, while also adding itself as another great example of what the publisher does so well: world-building.
The first issue, which is out now, goes from a future Earth to the technologically-advanced New Japan to set up a tale about artificial intelligence, morality, and nanites. Oh, and dinosaurs. The fate of humanity hangs on Bloodshot and Rai working together to overcome these problems, which is not something they’re initially willing to do. What follows is a series of incredible action set pieces and smart dialogue that looks to the far future and finds problems deeply rooted in today’s moral and technical anxieties.
Fallen World positions the creative team of Pollina and Abnett as a force to be reckoned with, and hopefully one that continues in collaboration beyond this miniseries. Art and dialogue are fully aligned here and there’s a sense of one interpreting the other in an organic and playful manner. These two creators are plainly having fun with the material and seem to speak sci-fi and world-building quite well. Wait ’til you see what Pollina does with nanite constructs while Abnett creates a whole political culture intent on driving humanity to its definite conclusion.
The Beat caught up with Pollina via e-mail about the new issue, which is slated for release on June 5. Read on to see what he had to say and check out an exclusive preview of the Fallen World #2 below.
Ricardo Serrano: Hey Adam! Let me start by saying I’ve been a fan of your work for quite a while and that what you’re doing with Fallen World is astounding.
Adam Pollina: I appreciate the kind words, Ricky. I’ll try to answer your questions as best as possible. And thanks for taking an interest in the book.
Serrano: Valiant event comics have an identity all of their own. They don’t feel as if they need to check certain boxes to qualify as events. Each one feels distinct and manages to craft their own identities. How did this approach to storytelling allow you to develop your own vision for Fallen World?
Pollina: Well, it’s very appealing to say the least. Valiant generously gave me the opportunity to breathe a little, and indulge in creating the things I’m most passionate about.
Serrano: The story feels as if the visuals do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of world-building, and they do a great job of amplifying Dan Abnett’s nuanced interpretations of new worlds and their societies. How did you pin down the look and feel of Fallen World and its settings?
Pollina: That’s easy: to retreat back to my childhood and reflect on the moments that inspired me then. I was fascinated with movies like the original “The Land That Time Forgot,” or the world of John Boorman’s “Zardoz.” And visiting the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan was always an escape to another place and time.
Serrano: What does your creative process look like leading up to the actual illustration phase? Any books, movies, or references you go back to when thinking about new stories?
Pollina: Initially, I make an effort not to be too heavily influenced by outside sources. Once received, I print out the script on paper. I read and reread it several times. As I do so, certain immediate impressions fly to mind. Those that persist, I roughly doodle down alongside the corresponding text. After half a dozen passes, it looks like a crazed mess. I then sift through the chaos, collect all the separate moments, and begin to orchestrate them into a flowing narrative broken down into individual pages.
And after that phase is complete, only then do I start to research specific elements required to embellish the world.
Serrano: There are several sequences in both Fallen World #1 and #2 where a particular character is seen to have the ability to give life to certain shapes that bleed out of his body. They showcase impressive attention to detail and just look fantastic. How did you settle on the visuals that make up these sequences?
Pollina: That’s kind of you to say. The pros and cons of working digitally is that you now have the ability to endlessly zoom in and magnify your work to much greater detail. I tend to get lost in the process.
Serrano: Any challenges or goals you set for yourself with Fallen World as an artist and a storyteller?
Pollina: I guess, I’m still a student trying to interpret the images in my head as effectively and efficiently as possible. I still have a lot of work to do.
Serrano: What’s next for you after Fallen World? Anything in development?
Pollina: Thanks again for asking. All my efforts are on Fallen World with Valiant at present. Happily, a few fun things are in the works, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
Fallen World #2
Writers: Dan Abnett
Artist: Adam Pollina
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Jeff Powell
Cover A: Sanford Greene
Cover B: Declan Shalvey
Cover C: Nik Virella
FOC: Monday, May 13
Release Date: Wednesday, June 5
Get ready for the second thrilling chapter in Valiant’s explosive event series! Rai’s creator and most dangerous foe has returned! The cyborg samurai faces an impossible challenge. Can he stop his greatest enemy from gaining even more power? How many more positronic dinosaurs will have to die for Rai to save the future?
Ricardo Serrano is a Social Studies teacher with a Master’s Degree in Comic Books from the University of Dundee in Scotland. He’s also the co-creator of Se Habla Comics, a Puerto Rican podcast geared towards Spanish-speaking comic book readers.