Carbon opens at the start of the universe and the creation of humans, but they aren’t the only beings crawling out of the primordial ooze. Our initial narrator, God himself, describes the rise of sheves. These winged beasts are only female, but even though they don’t need to reproduce with males, they attack the human males. The humans pray to God for protection and safety from the dangerous sheves. God creates a new underground world for the immortal winged beings filled with everlasting light. As society evolves, the earth becomes contaminated and punishment is meted out against them. The sheves and humans are thrown together in the darkness. With faith declining, God begins to fade away, which feeds into the rise of Eden Energy, a company on the quest for ever burning coal.
The rest of Carbon is more focused on the present day. We see the evolution of Eden Energy, which is marked by pollution and numerous deaths in connection to the mines within Eden Hallow. Our main character, Heat Hatfield, is the son of one of the miners who was part of an Eden Energy tragedy. After being suspended from minor league baseball, following a massive injury and a period of using steroids, he returns to his home town to convince his girlfriend to come with him to Charleston. When he learns she now works at Eden Energy, he becomes irate and in this reaction finds himself drawn into a dangerous mining trip. Along with his best friend, Willie, the untrained Heat is thrust into an unexplored area of the mine in an attempt to locate the ever glowing coal Eden Energy so desires. In a matter of moments this exploratory trip suddenly gets even more dangerous. All of the men sent into the mine are attacked by sheves, but only three survive. Within this terrifying portion of the mine Heat and the others come across men who had been presumed dead. With new men to add to their group plans are quickly made to escape. Eden Energy is working at a breakneck pace to get the refined coal that they have been desperately hunting for processed, which in combination with their lack of knowledge of the sheves and the beings underground, which results in remarkably unexpected damage which leaves the residents of Eden Hallow with an uncertain future.
This comic was unlike any other comic I had read before. I was not expecting the introduction of the comic to begin at the dawn of time. The sheves made for interesting villains and I actually felt sympathetic for them. Admittedly they were murderous and attacking humankind, but they were thrown underground. While God tried to give them light, they were still trapped away from the outside world. The plot of Carbon was also interesting, it was a combination of religious elements and modern day discussions of pollution and environmental change. Daniel Boyd discusses his connection to coal mining and provides a number of details and opinions in the afterword of this comic that I thought were a great addition. All the details for where to find Carbon are located on Daniel Boyd’s website.
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