Digital Indie Comics Round-Up: Descending Outlands, Lost Angels, Perfect Day R:ILPersona and Trista and Holt
This month’s round-up of the best digital indie comics features space-based sci-fi in Shaun Dobie’s Descending Outlands, Comicker Digital’s Lost Angels, a sublime slice of life in Jesse Young’s Perfect Day webcomic, amnesiac assassin adventure R:IL Persona and Aussie crime noir in Trista and Holt.
Descending Outlands #2 (Evil Kat Studios)
Issue 2 of Sean Dobie’s epic space opera debuted at last month’s Melksham Comic Convention as the adventures of rogue space captain Nate Avery continue into the outlands of space. This Firefly inspired series debuts yet another new artist this issue and debutant Samir Simao brings a slick cartoonish quality to the series which gives it a strong sense of identity for the first time. Original artist Paul Olivera returns for the final chapter though and does not quite live up to the promise of the first half however Dobie’s colouring and Vince Hunt’s lettering and design continue to give the book a high class finish throughout which helps elevate it above your average indie book.
Download Descending Outlands #2 here
Lost Angels #1 & #2 (Comicker Digital)
When a mysterious city comes flying out of the sky and lands on Santa Monica, it’s not aliens as you might expect, but it’s actually angels! (A city of angels falls on the city of angels, do you see what they did there!). As the human and angel societies attempt to interact we follow the misadventures of high schooler Alex, whose Mom is a cop in the angel city and is tasked with keeping order and improving relations between the two factions. With it’s mix of god-like imagery and high school setting, Lost Angels reads like Neil Gaiman re-scripting the Breakfast Club, but reminded us most of odd-couple cop show Alien Nation. The interaction between the two societies allows for lots of social commentary allegories from writer David Accampo, while the accidental death of one of Alex’s classmates after taking Ambrosia (a kind of angel produced LSD) gives this first arc a whodunnit direction as well as raising tensions between the two factions. Artist Chris Anderson does a solid job of giving the book a unique visual identity with a loose sketchy style and does a great job of rendering the wings – which is always a challenge in any book about angels!
Read Lost Angels online at Comicker Digital
Manifest #1 & #2 (One Sheep Army)
When it comes to reviewing Ricardo Desini’s Manifest, it’s difficult not to focus in on a particular feature of lead character Tessa Theus, (aka former superhero Thundergirl who is rescued from a dream like prison by Vision-esque compadre The Spectral Wayfarer and returns her to the city of Manifest to help revive her memory and take on her adopted father, the tyrannical Saturn.) We aren’t being puerile fanboys by doing this, it is part of the story and gets numerous mentions forms both Tessa and her supporting cast, but Tessa has absolutely HUGE breasts! Big enough to make a 90s x-woman envious! We wouldn’t normally make light of such an issue as we try our best to be enlightened 21st century types who don’t get distracted by such things, but it takes what should a interesting multi-dimensional mix of dystopian science-fiction and classic superheroes and makes the whole thing very Freudian. On one level we should applaud writer/artist Desini for tackling the issue of body image in comic books as it is part of an ongoing subplot that is aimed to satirise the appearance of female superheroes in comics, and present a more rounded and realistic female representation. Unfortunately Tessa ends up looking like an adult film star squeezed into one of the Slik Spectre’s old cast-offs as his artwork and costume design lacks the subtlety and nuance that this kind of story deserves.
Download Manifest #1 and #2 from DriveThru Comics
Perfect Day (Write Jesse Write)
Aspiring writer Jesse Young doesn’t just wait to be given the chance to write comics, he makes them happen via his WriteJesseWrite website (and also his wonderful ComiXology collection). This month he has released another fantastic short story that will particularly resonate with any readers out there with a young family. Perfect Day is a sublime slice-of-life tale of a young dad who prefers to spend the say with his daughter rather than answering the phone to his ‘A-hole Boss’. Told without any dialogue, it is a beautiful concept piece that is wonderfully realised by artist Caspar Wijngaard whose rough pastel colours give the book a beautiful dream like quality. Utterly charming and completely wonderful, this is another stunning addition to Young’s portfolio of work.
Read Perfect Day on Jesse’s WriteJesseWrite website
R:ILPersona (Starlight City Entertainment)
We’ve all had those days where you wake up and aren’t really sure what’s going on with the world, but normally we manage to fix things with a hot shower and a decent cup of coffee. Unfortunately elite ninja assassin Rade doesn’t have that luxury as he wakes up mid-mission, standing over the body of a slain scientist while soldiers take pot shots at him. It’s a good job his partner Strykes is on hand to guide him through the rest of the mission as Rade attempts to piece together the situation he is in and try to figure out what the hell is going on and whose side he is on (or rather should be on). Produced by the enigmatic Starlight City Entertainment, R:IL Persona is a slick piece of manga infused action adventure. The set-up is a great way to introduce the characters as the readers figures things out at the same time as Rade. There’s also a ton of great in-your-face action from the get go and so despite being quite exposition heavy, you are only a few pages away from the next battle. Currently available in webcomic from on the R:IL Persona website and via webcomic service Tapastic, R:IL Persona is intended to be a multi-volume graphic novel extravaganza with the first volume available in the new year. In the meantime, check out this action-packed amnesiac assassin adventure today, as it’s pretty unforgettable!
Read the first volume online via the R:IL Persona website or via Tapastic
Trista and Holt
Aussie comic creator Andrez Bergen’s tale of a kick ass female assassin caught between warring families is loosely based on the medieval romantic story of Tristan and Iseult – but with added explosions! The first 6 issues have been collected together into this new volume and it’s certainly an intriguing piece as it is created using a Dave McKean-esque montage technique with photos from a variety of sources (the face of Paul Newman appears at one point to represent one of the characters!), along with lots of Photoshop manipulation and filters. As a concept, it certainly pushes boundaries and is a bold piece of of storytelling. However, in terms of telling an easy to follow story it can be quite confusing.
Purchase Trista and Holt volume 1 from IF? Commix