Aspen Comics 2018
Created & Story by J.T. Krul, Dinna Wu & Yuyan Song
Written by J.T. Krul
Pencilled by Alex Konat
Inked by Mark Roslan
Coloured by John Starr
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
“The world of NuWay is one of struggle. For survival. For sanity. For self. As Zihao tries to find a meaningful centre, he comes to realize the battle is not just his alone. The balance between humanity and machinery is a delicate one, and it seems to be reaching a dangerous tipping point.
I like this but I am not sure about it at the same time. I am not really sure what kind of story this is supposed to be. We’ve got people fighting in the arena like ancient gladiators only they have had half their bodies replaced with I don’t want to say bionics but weaponry and technology. There is a romance lost and a man struggling to find his place in this world, while another seeks redemption through Zihao. Mix and them all together and I am not really sure where I am. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good or interesting because it is and I keep going with the story as new elements are introduced.
I love the way that J.T. is building this world through the experiences of Zihao. We see what he sees and it’s like he’s experiencing this world truly for the first time. There is this wonderful connection between the words and narration he uses and the pencils that Alex lays down. This kind of synergy is pretty rare but the fact the entire artistic team makes this story feel like everything is being down one person. I really am incredibly impressed with how we see things in this that you wouldn’t normally get. This ties into the beautiful way that this book is structured. The ebb & flow of what we see is phenomenal and the transitions are smooth which makes it so easy to follow along while missing nothing.
The characterisation here is sensationally well done. I see the different personalities and they make each character shine in their own unique way. This is all around doesn’t matter if it’s the “good” or the “bad” guys everyone gets the same treatment and this again is something J.T. does that really does stand out in the crowd of good writers. The story itself has such complexity and so many layers to it and they all work there isn’t really a disconnect or something that feels out of place because everything we see belongs in this world and with these characters.
I am in love with the interiors here. The linework is gorgeous and it’s sets the stage for the Mark and John to follow and they did with such experience and talent. I love the original way that the page layouts are utilised and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a magnificent eye for storytelling. The attention to detail is above and beyond the norm and I got news this is the kind of work that you never forget and always look to expect it in the future. The backgrounds and the vibrancy of colours or when their muted and the way we see them brought to life there so many places the eye can roam and not be disappointed. The creativity and imagination on display here is bloody brilliant.
There may be more elements than you think should work and this definitely doesn’t have a theme or genre to fit into nicely. Instead this is very much an original outside the box of convention that is incredibly well done and leaves a huge impression on the reader. Seriously this is what makes comics fun to read.