Wake Entertainment 2021
Written by John Dolmayan
Illustrated by Tony Parker
Coloured by Blond
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studio
It is 150 years in the future, the city of Ascencia towers above its sister city Bethany in perpetual dominance. The city of immortals, a power resides in Ascencia coveted by all but accessible to few. This is the story of what one would do to become immortal. Who they would abandon. who they would betray. And ultimately what price they would pay to remain in Ascencia.
I saw this was listed in the new releases for this week as I was making my review list for the week. I do like a first issue and the cover looked intriguing so I looked it up and thought wow this could be really good. Turns out my hunch was right, which at this stage of my life and career is my own spider-sense. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would and the fact that it feels like we have a few openings back to back to set us up with a good look at the characters, this world and kind of hits on the dynamic of it all is really rather well achieved. When a book can meet your expectations and then exceed them showing that the writer is actually quite good and draws the reader in this way so you become engaged in what the possibilities are is fantastic.
I enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented nicely. There is an interesting way in which John has approached telling the story and it works extremely well for him and I like that because it doesn’t feel as if he’s using some formulae to get it done. The character development is nice to see, there are a few tropes but they actually work here so I won’t complain. The dialogue we see as well as how the characters act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter do wonders in fleshing them out. The pacing is great and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along with the world, these characters and the story it more than pulls us in.
The interiors here are absolutely incredible. Tony manages to do things with the linework through their varying weights and techniques that make the detail work look so incredible to see. The difference between the sleek and ultra-modern and the gritty slums really feels like two separate artists working on the book is mindbogglingly well rendered. Not to mention the faces, facial expressions and then how backgrounds are utilised to really bring out the extra emotion and feelings is amazing. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkable eye for storytelling. The colour work is brilliantly rendered here as well. How we see different techniques in how colour is laid down is superb as are the colour choices themselves. To see how the various hues and tones within the colours are being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a remarkable understanding of how colour works.
With the way this book is structured and how we see the layers within the story emerging to add this great depth and complexity to the story is impressive. Seeing it all work together to create the story’s ebb & flow is beautifully done. Then there’s the sheer amount of creativity and imagination that we see throughout in terms of the dual classes and how they are represented really is some absolutely stand out work. Sometimes you have to look for those singular offerings because it is where you’ll find some of today’s most inspiring work being done. Indie Comics isn’t a scary or bad thing it is something to be embraced and I believe you should.