Chico Comics Page Review: Isola #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Brenden Fletcher
Illustrator: Karl Kerschl
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewer: Chris “The Bearded Wonder” Natale
Upon the first read, this comic might be confusing to some. Looking at the art, there is no doubt that Fletcher and Kerschl have created a beautiful world, characters and all. The issue begins with a poem and a beautiful backdrop of rain behind it that reads “Long dream‘t Crown…Awakens four…Mark haunted hearts… To Isola’s shores…” I really enjoyed this and it set the mood of the issue for me and I had no issues with Fletcher’s writing abilities. However, I just felt that the story did not really tell me much as a first issue should. I read the comic twice just to be sure and I felt that the issue could have been stronger. I think the ideas are there. You have a queen, named Olwyn, transformed into a blue-striped tiger (tell me that isn’t cool, I mean, come on, a blue-striped tiger?). A royal guard, named Rook, who is trying to figure out what the Queen wants her to do because she doesn’t speak tiger. Their goal seems to be to break this curse on the Queen by going to Isola, the land of the dead. It seems to be a really unique idea, but I would have liked to have seen more of the world and its myths, but I am hoping future issues will provide that. This issue piqued my interest enough to pick up the next issue in order to see where this story is going. I have a lot of questions that I hope will be answered in issues to come.
My favorite part of this book is its gorgeous art by Karl Kerschl. I remember reading the first three issues of Gotham Academy when it came out in 2014 and I really enjoyed Kerschl’s animated storytelling-like style. His style has only gotten better over time it seems and I could not get enough. I took my time with this issue in order to really admire the art in each panel. I think this issue would be worth picking up for the art alone in all honesty. The colors by Msassyk really brought out the beautifully detailed characters and settings done by Kerschl. Msassyk used a balance of both darker and lighter tones when appropriate and made this issue feel like you were watching a Studio Ghibli movie; something Hayao Miyazaki would be proud of. The lettering by Aditya Bidikar, who can also be recognized for his work on a great Image title named Paradiso, does some excellent work here and I had no trouble following along with the dialogue throughout the story.
Overall, this book is beautiful to look at. Kerschl’s art combined with Msassyk’s colors create a gorgeous fantasy world that almost seems animated right off the page and it has potential to be a great story in the long run. I would like to see more with Rook and Olwyn in order to really appreciate them as a characters. I really enjoy their designs along with some other characters we see in this issue. I am hoping that the next issue provides more “meat” and really gives readers an understanding of what Isola is all about.
A captain of the Royal Guard, named Rook, has run away from the city of Maar with Olwyn, who happens to be the city’s Queen. The problem is that Olwyn has been cursed by an evil spell which transformed her into a tiger and cannot go back until she is human once more. Rook and Olwyn’s only hope is to find Isola, the land of the dead. It may just give them the answers they seek, but no one said that the journey would be an easy one…
Are you a fan of Studio Ghibli and the work of Hayao Miyazaki? Isola #1 might just be the book you are looking for. It is a beautiful world filled with potentially likeable characters and the art is gorgeously detailed in ways that almost make it seem animated. This issue will be available in local comic shops near you on April 4 so be sure to check it out and see for yourself. The official rating by the Bearded Wonder is a chinstrap on the beard scale, which is a 7/10.
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