Big Dog Ink/Aspen Comics 2015
Written by Kim Hutchison & Kari Castor
Illustrated by Mike Krome
Coloured by Nei Ruffino
Volume one is once again available and hopefully to more readers than ever before thanks to Big Dog Ink becoming a part of Aspen Comics because while this series is definitely something different it’s also contains some of the most beautiful artwork around. I fully admit that while I read pretty much everything else Big Dog put out this one escaped me and I’m glad I now have the opportunity to get to know this remarkable woman and see her story.
There’s something magical about a world where giant bats are used as a mode of transportation for the crew launched from a metal carrier ship, a place where mermaids are on the loose living up to their horrific reputation of luring sailor’s to their deaths and the surprise of whom else is on this world, a God long forgotten by many but once upon a time worshiped.
I will be the first to admit that i’m something of an art snob I like it clean, detailed and breathtaking. Mike’s linework, page layout and use of not only backgrounds but the little details such as a bookmark or a the feather plume used to write and draw all coloured in such a dynamic way by Nei that you can’t help but look at this and think holy crap this some good stuff. The colourist is sometimes underrated in comics but here Nei’s blending of light to dark and use of high and low lighting just really make the difference to enhance the incredible line work done by Mike.
The mermaid they captured killed the captain, a position now held by Shahrazad, and someone wants to seemingly eliminate this creature and it isn’t one of the crew, though would love to see her destroyed. Two headed vultures with nose rings yeah these are creature you don’t see every day that’s for sure they have to be someones, nose rings after all aren’t just found in birds in the wild. We do learn that whomever controls the voices of the sirens three, controls the road to infinity. Now the big question is who controls them?
As the story unfolds we see the emergence of a great threat to Shahrazad and her way of life and the lives of her crew. Also in an attempt to get off the island they are stranded on we see the girl has plenty of smarts to her which is why she was second in command and now Captain. I have to admit the island looks like a paradise and not a bad place to be stranded but they take flight on the bats and go off in search of where those vultures were headed. They need to perch somewhere and more than likely this will lead them to their master.
If things were to go as planned they wouldn’t be as fun now would they? I’m incredibly impressed with all the mixing of items from different era’s and the magical aspect of what goes on as well as seeing the fantasy, think giant flying bats, put together in such a way that it all seems just so natural. The characterization is delightful, the way the story unfolds is excellent pacing and what we see keeps things fresh and new because you aren’t sure why anything is happening yet. So the surprise element here is a huge draw for me.
With some of the most beautiful artwork, including on both the men and women, with a great premise and some mystery thrown in this is why we look towards smaller press companies to find the truly exceptional reads.