Dark Horse Comics 2016
Written by Gene Ha
Illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau
Coloured by Kendall Goode
Lettered by Zander Cannon
Ever wondered what Abby was like when she first got to this strange new world? Well wonder no more as we glimpse behind the curtain so to speak. In this one-of flashback story we see Abby, going by Ani, in a town pub arm wrestling one of the locals while talking to an assembled group. She seems kind of bored and over the whole thing by this point, having been lost in the woods for a few days and unable to find her way around or back to Krunyrves.
It’s the first time we see her actually think of her family, mostly Mae as I’m guessing her dad is more an afterthought. Gene’s characterisation here is nice as we get to see this lost little girl who definitely has an attitude feeling somewhat conflicted by the adventures she’s been having and the guilt of her family not knowing where she is. It’s important because it makes Abby seem more fully rounded as a person and while she does eventually get swept up in local affairs and elevates her status here into something of a legend this story takes place prior to that. It’s a good look at her as a person who still needs to find herself.
The work on the interiors by Paulina has this whole Steven Universe or Adventure Time feel to it. I’ve not really watched either series but from what I can tell it has that kind of all-ages weird character designs to it. It’s cute, fun and well done and does show off a nice creative imagination in depicting these locals. The use of page layouts, angles and perspective are nicely used to control the flow of the story.
I like that this is the story where Abby becomes noticed by those who matter. The village is attacked and some eaten by a band of marauders. When she sticks up for the town and kind of gets thrashed at first we see her ingenuity and determination in action. I like that she’s a tough one who doesn’t want to see others get pushed around. It says a lot about her character and it’s something most people should do. By that I mean stand up to bullies, if you see someone bullying someone say something or do something because it’s never okay to let that happen and it’s something we need to remember no matter what age we are.
While it’s a great opportunity to see Abby fight it’s also a nice opportunity to see some of the creatures of this world as well. These giant talking birds for instance. They have this Ostrich/Emu/Cassowary kind of look and feel mixed with a more dinosaur approach and makes them as formidable as the beasts who ride them. I have to say the way that we see her overcome her fear in favour of courage to stand up to these goons should be an example to people of all ages. It may not be easy but we all have a bit of a hero in us and shouldn’t let fear stop us from protecting those who can’t protect themselves or that just need assistance.