July 12, 2024
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Read Time:3 Minute, 38 Second

CREATIVE TEAM:
(W) Greg Pak (A) Diego Galindo (C) Irma Kniivila (L) Simon Boland (CA) Qistina Khalidah 


SOLICITATION:
Magical meets modern in a walled city with strangely familiar architecture, where two small children with a sense of adventure get a grim reminder of reality….

Because every mistake one makes in this world will cause them to transform into a monster, bit by bit, and in the eyes of society, there’s no distinction between the rules and what’s right!

Imperfection breeds monstrous consequences in this urban fantasy adventure with deep social commentary from renowned and award-winning writer Greg Pak (Mech Cadets, Darth Vader, Planet Hulk) and acclaimed artist Diego Galindo (Stranger Things: The Voyage).


FIRST THOUGHT:
I will pick up a Greg Pak book without ever knowing what’s inside just because I’ve grown to trust that Pak is going to deliver something special. I can’t remember the last time that’s not been proven true, and after reading this issue I’d say Pak’s still on a stellar record of special books. 


THE STORY:
The concept is pretty easy – follow the rules and if you don’t you’ll start becoming a monster until you are consumed by it. The concept is easy, but for the people in New Sanctum following the rules is hard to do and each carries a scar, or possibly someone else’s scar. Greg Pak introduces us to this work of urban fantasy and magic, but follows a young man named Sung who’s life is a struggle to be perfect. He has a family legacy to uphold, and as he discovers his own mother’s life hangs in the balance. It’s a lot for one young man to handle, and Pak portrays his struggle in a very relatable way for readers. You feel for the moments he struggles to break simple rules to help people, but doesn’t in order to remain as perfect as he can. The guilt eats at him and readers can’t help but feel it. 

Pak’s characters in every book he writes are fully fleshed out personalities that invite the readers in to get to know them. Sung and his best friend, Eris are two opposites of one another, but they remain loyal to one another. This issue is as much about not breaking the rules and being perfect to society as it is being perfect in your loyalty and friendship to those closest to you. Living in this kind of world will provide a lot of test for these two, and the ending of this issue provides one that maybe even Sung didn’t see coming, and it will be what leads readers back for the next issue. 


THE ART:
The art in this issue by Diego Galindo, Irma Kniivila, and Simon Boland is stunning. Greg Pak has an uncanny ability to bring the right artistic team to bring visual life to his words every time and this team does it beautifully on the page. There’s a fluidity to Galindo’s illustrations that readers get right off the bat as we see from Sung’s father as he battles a monster from the river. The use of lines on the ground showing impact and others showing foot movement, the page almost comes to life. The faces that Galindo draws in this issue are so expressive and provide the reader a sense of what’s happening in the scene without even reading the dialogue. 

Galindo’s linework is clean and allows Kniivila to come in and provide texture and shadow with colors. Most of the issue is a lot of neutral colors around Sung and his family’s life, which is in sharp contrast to the world outside that breaks the rules and has such a larger color palette. Using this, Kniivila provides that line in the sand that readers may have not known they needed to see how different these two worlds are living amongst one another. 


CLOSING THOUGHTS:
Finishing up this issue, the cliffhanger is something I didn’t expect, but in hindsight felt I should have seen. The build up is there, and it provides so many more interesting directions for this book. I’m not sure how many issues this series will be running, but Pak has me hooked and I’m ready for more.


About Post Author

Chris

Chris has been a comic book fan since picking up ELFQUEST #2 off the spinner rack and the corner store near his grandparents' home in Durham, NC. Since then, Chris has bought, read, and sold more comics than he cares to count. There isn't a comic book series that Chris won't try at least one issue of if you're willing to stay and listen to what he thinks about it.
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