Happy Memorial Day weekend, geeks and geekettes! It’s also Fleet Week out here on the East Coast as well, and to any distinguished members of the armed forces who may be reading here today, we give a somber and heartfelt THANK YOU to your service and continued sacrifice, and take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We have some indie titles to look at this week, since it’s not just Big Two (or four, depending on who’s asking) that have cornered the market on the comics industry. We’ve got two great titles to look at, and hopefully they’re signs of some of the quality to expect from indie titles moving into the warmer months. Let’s get right to it, and then throw some burgers on the grill…
Road of Bones starts out letting you know exactly what you are getting into. In the first sequence alone, there is almost no dialogue, but you understand exactly what is going on. The tone is set immediately with blood, violence, cursing and death all right outside a Russian prison camp.
Suddenly, the scene changes to inside of the camp, settling in just how oppressive the government-run facility is. There is also an underlying danger of death and an urban myth that slowly comes into play. Told almost entirely through images and illustration alone, this is masterful visual storytelling.
Rich Douek (TMNT, and Oxymoron) greatly sets up the story’s environment and Alex Cormack (Oxymoron) vividly paints the scenes, perfectly accompanying the dark overtones of story. These guys need to keep working with each other, because they have it down to a science, and they compliment each other’s style incredibly well. I am looking forward the next issue as the cliffhanger left me wondering where the story is headed to next. 4/5 Sukas agree with this message.
Mindfold, by writer/artist Roland Brown, opens with a bizarre hunt from a bi-plane piloted by a chimera-type woman who swoops down, kills some tiger-like creatures, and drinks the blood from their wounds. She’s quiet for the most part, capable, and also half-leopard from the waist-down (or at least as close to “leopard” as can exists on this planet). During the middle of her hunt, a human appears, born from the ground and underneath a primordial lake, seemingly born into existence in a process referred to as the mindform. She’s conscious, capable of thought and speech, and, naked as she is, a completely helpless being against several nearby tiger-like creatures, one of which makes short work of her arm. Darra, as she calls herself, is rescued by the chimera woman, and brought to a massive cave-temple, where several more reveal themselves to Darra, who makes it clear she was not expecting such a reception.
Brown’s artwork is very reminiscent of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing‘s indie title Zojaqan, of which I’d received a printed copy back at SDCC 2017. Very fantastical, very painterly, with a dreamlike use of lines and, soft (but not quite muted) colors. The setting of a fantasy world of bizarre creatures, and characters who are slowly revealed through action, with little dialogue or expository narration (the little that the chimera does “speak” is written in brief, staccato scritches and scratches, belying her alien language). It’s a testament to Brown’s foundation work in setting up this fantasy world that the only instance that proved a bit unbelievable was Darra’s near-calm reaction to having her entire right arm bitten off…but it’s not enough to have made me roll my eyes.
I’m a sucker for stories like this, and I had no idea what I was expecting when I picked out the title for review. This is high-concept storytelling, with great art, interesting and odd enough to not feel like a retread of anything currently out there. The only gripe (if one can really call it that) is that it moves at such a clip, that before I knew it, the issue was over. A fast-paced, fantasy story, available via comiXolgy. 4/5 Bi-Plane Hunters.