Aspen Comics 2018
Written by J.T. Krul
Illustrated by Chahine Ladjouze
Digital Inks by Mark Roslan & Justice
Coloured by Wes Hartman
Lettered by Zen
As the new age of magic continues in the shadows of this future landscape, Malikai and his friends try to enjoy a little down time, but such plans never seem to last. Grace continues to serve as a protector for all things magic, more specifically the dragons, but she is growing tired of having to keep the true power of the world a secret. And, there is a new danger on the horizon, a new figure in the Soulfire universe who may be the greatest threat to the fragile balance between magic and technology yet!
I love the idea behind Soulfire and that once again with the whole merging of the universe into one cohesive thing we get to see thing play out differently than they have in the past. This means that avenues previously unexplored are rife for exploration. I am a huge fan of the opening here and to see someone breach this forgotten temple then use science to unlock it’s secrets is something that almost seems to combine Mission Impossible and Harry Potter. Now if that doesn’t at least intrigue you on multiple levels then I think there is something wrong with you.
The way that this book is structured is extremely well done and I have to admit I am a of J.T.’s and his work and that this franchise and this company allows him to really stretch his wings so to speak and tell the story like I know he’s capable of that you will find no finer writer. While yes one would benefit from reading previous volumes of the series it isn’t all that necessary I would consider this pretty new reader friendly. It is pretty easy to pick this up and understand not only what is going on but also the dynamic and relationship of the characters that we see and meet.
I am enjoying the way that the segments come across while they don’t blend as seamlessly as I am used to that’s okay because we see each one happening for a reason. With the different species having emerged once again and yet still not to a point where they can openly share not only the same airspace fut the same world is pretty typical in my humble opinion. I mean let’s face it mankind isn’t exactly fond of being reminded that they didn’t come first and that they aren’t in control so they’ll do whatever they to subjugate others or commit genocide in order to retain power and control.
The interior artwork here is gorgeous and that it has the reminder that this is a Michael Turner is it’s creator and inspiration it’s also decidedly Chahine’s as well. The linework is strong and well balanced and the colours are typically vibrant and the gradation of colour is sublime. The creativity and imagination that we see on the pages is superbly realised. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a very good eye for storytelling. I will say that I do wish that backgrounds were a little more fully realised because the potential is there I feel it’s just short of the mark in expanding the story.
There is so much going on here that seems to be mixing up so many genres that it almost seems crowded. If it weren’t for J.T.’s skill and talent as a writer it would come across as crowded instead what we get are avenues we cannot wait to see explored. This world if full of chaos and hope and there are too many other factors that want to swoop in clean the messes up and take command. This is a thrilling start to this volume and it’s incredibly well written and gorgeously illustrated.