Aspen Comics 2018
Created & Story by J.T, Krul, Dinna Wu & Yuyan Song
Written by J.T. Krul
Pencilled by Alex Konat
Inks by Mark Roslan
Coloured by John Starr
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
For Zihao, all his struggles and all his training has been leading up to this moment - a chance to upgrade his flesh and bone with the steel and circuitry of cybernetic enhancements in order to fight in the big arena. But, now that the moment of truth has arrived, he must decide once and for all if he's willing to the pay the ultimate price. There's no going back. Just ask Cassi. Don't miss this exciting new chapter of an electrifying story in a bold new world!
I hope someone was listening to Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People while this was being written because I got news for ya that’s exactly what I was thinking while reading this. While a part of me is a little surprised by the opening in regards to who was having what done. The two page spread that demonstrates the spa is eerie and beautiful but also sets women back like you wouldn’t believe. While men get enhancements to fight in an arena setting women use to enhance their beauty for men. Yes it is kind of sexist and a class feature but it what it is and how we see it is supposed to mean something, to raise a reaction and ultimately ensure that the reader wants to know more.
One of the things about this that really does impress me is that even though this could be considered controversial instead it really just screams science fiction. I mean cheesy bad “B-Movie” science fiction bad, which we all know is the best kind there is! Oh sure the storytelling is so much better and there are no actors to overact or underact as the case may be. The story and plot development is moving forward at a nice pace which allows for some interesting developments and some stellar characterisation. The structure here is fantastic and I honestly don’t know if anything J.T. can throw at me with his talent, skill and verve that would surprise me, I mean the man is a beast when it comes to this.
Also I am a huge, huge fan of the art team here and what they’ve done with these interiors. Alex lays down some impressive linework for the rest to follow and there are moments I see this George Perez/Phil Jimenez vibe shining through in the attention to detail and the manipulation of the varying weights of said linework. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a great eye for storytelling. Backgrounds are utilised well throughout and the get the level of attention as everything else that makes me particularly happy. The shades of blue throughout the colouring here is utterly sensational, specifically the hologram head of Lei I mean wow and I sincerely hope that is all blues and nothing else, no linework nothing!
As the second issue races to it’s close and we see background information come to light and how Cassi and Zihao were as kids with him taking care of the old man. How vastly different their lives are today and who learned the lessons being taught? That he kept that letter the old man gave him and was looking at it in his cell which leads up to the last page makes me want to know what it says! What that letter says and who that person on the last page is supposed to be.
The writing is sensational and only as J.T. can do it with the multiple angles in the same story arc that have these diverging branches as sharp as anything the Whomping Willow can throw at you.