ComiXology Originals 2020
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Max Dunbar
Coloured by Espen Grundetjern
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
The nomadic space station called Stone Star brings gladiatorial entertainment to ports across the galaxy. Inside this gargantuan vessel of tournaments and temptations, foragers and fighters struggle to survive. A young warrior named Dail has been drawn into the ring and is trying to prove himself in the Grand Arena, but there are forces on the station determined to see him destroyed as revenge for his father's fighting legacy.
I like that so far both issues have opened up in the Arena. While the kids aren’t in this fight I do like that we are seeing this because it gives us a chance to see the kind of teamwork that it takes to win here. That and by doing your research on your opponents and this is just as much something we need to know in real life as, preparation for all circumstances will let you stand out from the crowd. Also to see Durn watching and learning is fantastic and he is making friends while doing so. To see him branch out on his own a bit learning his identity is great to see.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see is pretty amazing if you wanna know the truth. Seeing Durn evolve and the way the kids are behaving here there is some really nice growth happening that I was expecting to see in such a short time. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way it is treating us to one of these deceptively simple journeys.
How we see this structured and the layers within the story continuing to move forward and start new ones it’s easy to see why Zeb is such a brilliant writer. The way everything here works together to create the story’s ebb & flow is beautifully done. This takes the idea of a fantasy story with an RPG to create something totally different and unique and yet it feels like it is the kind of epic we haven’t seen in a very long time.
The interiors here are rather quite lovely. I really am impressed with the quality of the linework that we are seeing here. The varying weights of the linework that we see being utilised here to bring out the attention to detail really captures the creativity and imagination being brought to life. I would like to see backgrounds be utilised more often but what we do see in how the composition within the panels are is nicely done. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show an extremely talented eey for storytelling. The colour work is gorgeous. How we see the hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is extremely nice to see.
I like this for so many different reasons. There are different angles to the story that we see and how things continue to grow and evolve and become just a tad more convoluted along the way keeps the interest factor so incredibly high. The more we see and the more we learn the more we want to experience and watch the story continue to grow and develop in its own course. There really is a way to how we see this that feels like this a perfectly natural progression one that isn’t forced or rushed along. It’s a rare thing to feel that this is precisely the way this is supposed to be unfolding but from these folks I expect no less.