Aspen Comics/Big Dog Ink 2015
Written by Kim Hutchison & Kari Castor
Illustrated by Mike Krome
Coloured by Nei Ruffino
We open with a very Roman/Greek arena battle taking place whose warriors are men, women and creatures fighting for Janus’ pleasure. Between the narration and the dialogue you really get a sense that ruling this arena has already bored Janus and what he really seeks is a challenge. Bored but not complacent he looks for something new, something to make things different from the norm even with these people with fantastic powers and abilities of their own he needs to be challenged.
Thankfully while he watching the arena he’s also scrying in water and sees Shahrazad and has her taken from the waters into which she fell last issue. Since her crew are atop the bats flying it shouldn’t be odd that two giant vultures pick her up and fly off but still it’s kind of amazing to see. Mike’s talent at bringing this world alive really is remarkable. He’s got such a vivid imagination and a way with putting things on paper that just capture the reader’s imagination beautifully.
The bats are exhausted already and have to be put down to rest before something bad happens to them so they have to follow on foot. I like this for two reasons, A. the obvious one is that it takes them longer to get to Shahrazad to rescue her and B. it also gives us a chance to see what this crew is made of and what they have to go through before finding her. It also gives Mike another chance to wow us. I mean along the way they see an old airplane, one i’d almost mistake for Amelia Earhart's, as well as the dangerous creatures that inhabit the island.
The first meeting between Janus and Shahrazad is much more interesting and deeper than I had anticipated. She’s an enigma to him and that in itself is fascinating if she has a future that even can’t read then she really is something special and extraordinary. This is what he’s been looking for, someone to keep him sharp and thinking to test his knowledge and limits and force him to use his dual minds. There’s something inherently twisted and simultaneously intriguing at the same time making their destiny with one another that much more impactful.
Again Mike does really great stuff here that two faced full headed headpiece he wears is phenomenal. Nei’s ability to subtly change the hue of the gold from one side to another really works well with what Mike does. Also page fifteen when that gigantic beetle creature erupts from the brush to attack that sense of movement and the colours that we see it’s just out of this world excitement jumping off the page.
I like how the crew and Shahrazad’s moments are paralleled on the page together it really does ties it all together and move the story along nicely so that we can see what happens and have the story move along faster without feeling that we missed anything. The use of page layouts for the two page spread was utilized incredibly well and really showcases some beautiful work.
This is pretty awesome the tweaking done to the story and the writing have made this one incredibly strong offering and in my humble opinion fits in very well with Aspen’s world of strong powerful women. There’s so much potential here with this character from her various past stories to her unknown and unchartered future. While her new battle armor is much more revealing than that captains outfit was, which by the way was much sexier than seeing her this way, it doesn’t diminish from her exotic looks though more is less.
I look forward to what’s coming next she’s fascinating young woman.