ARH ComiX 2015
Created & Story by Arahom Radjah
Written by Spencer Thurgood & Arahom Radjah
Illustrated by Manos Lagouvardos
Coloured by Nikos Koutsis & Mike Toris
Lettered by Yiannis Zoumpas
We open up with a shootout going on. It’s intense and really rather beautifully illustrated. When I find a new book from a new company and i’ve not seen anything from them before it’s always a hit or miss prospect. This one however is a complete and total hit. The writing is solid and interesting, the pacing is great and the eye popping opening helps you follow the story of Astria and how she gets the place where this book opens. She’s pretty much decked out in this military style garb and armed to the teeth, astounding artwork here too, which immediately catches the eye and you want to know more.
The remainder of this issue is the beginning of her story. Well at least a part of it. It seems that it takes a certain kind of life event to completely change a person and Astria is no different, well maybe she is because of what it does to her and how she copes plus it’s the second major life event that shattered her. It’s kind of heartbreaking what we see her have to go through in this opening issue. I mean yeah we see things like this happen on the news but you never really get more than that report from someone peripherally. This, this hits you where it counts.
The writing and characterization is so incredibly strong. The way this issue’s story is told is pretty amazing to me. Unafraid and unapologetic in it’s harsh, stark reality it leaves a major impact on you long after you’ve read it. I mean I had to read it twice before starting this review just because I couldn’t believe what i’d just experienced. There’s a depth to the writing that’s impressive and some character changes in personality that come slowly and then like a snake unseen in the grass pounces on it’s prey.
When we meet Astria she’s kind of meek and scared and this person whom you wouldn’t think could or would be strong enough to handle what’s happening. After the events that occur and she ends up at her father’s you already begin to see some different personality traits emerging. Also another mystery from the past unfolding that sheds light on who the woman in the previous part was. By the end it’s almost like that fight flight reflex has kicked in and she’s starting to become the furthest thing from a victim she possibly could. It’s the strength of the writing and the evolution and complexity of the characterization that keeps you riveted to the page.
Manos, Nikos and Mike’s work on the interiors really blew me away. The attention to detail here is phenomenal. The way the characters come to life is just amazing. The use of backgrounds, shading and colour tones we see plus the way angles and perspective are used throughout the flow of the story through pages and panels are amazingly well done. This is the kind of work you see and wonder how haven’t I heard of the artist before?
This is a strong, powerfully gripping and gorgeously illustrated first issue that helps tell Astria’s story. It also has enough emotional drama and set-up so you sort of see where it’s going but can’t turn away even if you wanted to. You WANT and HAVE to see this through and know she’s going to be alright. I’ve not seen first issue of this caliber in a very long time.