Small towns and mythology go hand in hand, whether it’s local legend or a reputation built up over time. It sets them apart from big cities because a lot of small towns have a strong sense of community. Mythology plays a big role in White Ash #1 created by Charlie Stickney and Conor Hughes. The comic focuses on the mining town of White Ash and the people living within it. The town has been hiding a secret and a young man named Aleck has his world turned upside down. Stickney sent a copy to The Comic Vault in exchange for a spoiler free review.
Aleck, the son of a miner, works for the elitist owner of the mine, Thane Alden. Aleck is a great representation of every teenager who wants to escape from their home and live their own life. He’s set to go off to college and you can feel Aleck’s frustration and relief at getting out of White Ash. It comes across as a dead end town that drains the life out of the people who live there. A rebellious teenager story wouldn’t be complete without parental issues, and Aleck shares a complicated relationship with his father.
When Aleck goes to the Alden household to get paid, he comes across Thane’s daughter Lillian. The class divide is established quickly, but Lillian shows disdain towards her father. A spark develops between the two of them and it’s handled in a subtle way. Too often, stories are in a hurry to shove people into a relationship. But Stickney takes his time with Aleck and Lillian, making their dynamic feel organic. There’s also the fact that both of their families hate each other, giving off a modern day Romeo and Juliet vibe.
Not long after Aleck’s uncle comes back into town, an accident happens in the mine. Aleck finds out his father was hurt and that inspires him to team up with Lillian. The pair do some investigating and discover a sinister secret that’s been a part of White Ash for years. Aleck is forced to confront his family’s history, providing plenty of drama and intrigue.
Stickney’s storytelling moves at a good pace, showing the different sides of White Ash. Supernatural themes mix with a small town setting to provide an intriguing tale. Hughes’ art is colourful and bright. Character expressions are where he really shines. Thane Alden has the kind of smug face you want to punch.
White Ash #1 is an impressive introduction to a world that will make you want to find out more. You can purchase the comic online, or as a printed copy. You can also watch this video below to get an idea of what White Ash is like.