We’re back with Volume 2 of Dani and Ramen: A Nomad’s Tale by the awesome Jake Morrison. Will this intriguing second issue answer all our burning questions from the first volume? Scroll on, dear reader!
Publisher: Fishdog Studios
Writer: Jake Morrison
Artist: Jake Morrison
Price: $15.99 from Fishdog Studios
By the time we get to Volume 2 of Dani and Ramen, our quirky brothers have already been through a hell of a lot, and Jake Morrison does a great job of reflecting this both in his writing and art style. While the first volume felt a lot more care-free, Volume 2 definitely feels tonally darker, not necessarily in the colour palette, but in the way our heroes act, their more frequent challenges and how they deal with them. You can tell that these are two guys who have been kicked down, and just keep getting back up.
This isn’t to say that Dani and Ramen aren’t as lovable and humorous as ever, and there are plenty of lighthearted adventures to be had as well as the darker ones. The issue starts off with Ramen the red panda, wondering if animals have feelings. We love you Ramen. This leads into a hilarious ‘tavern scene’ in which the brothers try to act and speak like cowboys from the wild west to get information about their quest, much to the confusion of everyone around them (we suggest that Jake Morrison immediately write a spin-off series about the brothers as cowboys. Please.).
This volume finally provides us with the brother’s backstories and how they met, which was delightful. It’s not a surprise to learn that Dani has always been the protector figure and Ramen his loveable sidekick, but it’s great to see the relationship develop from when they were kids. Particularly heartwarming is their determination, even as children, to look out for each other when they both find themselves with no family (we’re not crying, you are). We also found out that Ramen doesn’t write his name, but instead signs it as a bowl of ramen noodles. As if we couldn’t love this little guy more.
We are soon introduced to a plethora of new characters, which is always exciting. Most character interactions are fun, but minor, apart from one; new character Lydia, who is a fennec fox. Although she seems rather untrustworthy at first and reluctant to talk about her past (something which we hope will be addressed in volume 3!), she soon joins our brothers on their mission, making the duo a fabulous trio! Lydia was a welcome addition to the group, with a drier sense of humour and sarcasm which meshed wonderfully well with Dani and Ramen’s more obvious comicality. Also, she’s a badass with a bow and arrow, so she is more than helpful!
The art was again fantastic, with its cutesy style and amazing landscapes. Dani and Ramen (& Lydia!) did a lot of travelling to get to the right destination in this volume, so there are a couple of full-page spreads drawn from far away, where you can see our miniature heroes travelling through different lands, seasons and climates. Utterly gorgeous. We’re also glad to see that the fab author notes are back, providing even more world building and background! We got some notes about currency, different magic users, and even how the comic came about!
As stated earlier, this volume is a little darker than volume 1. There are more fights, and gorier injuries. One of the more stand-out fight scenes involved a mystical place called ‘Riddler’s Pass’ in which each character had to answer a riddle to pass a bridge and get to the other side (we got some three Billy Goats Gruff vibes!). Unfortunately, not everyone is as good at riddles as Ramen, leading to some major conflict.
It’s hard to say much more without spoiling the ending, but there are so many twists and turns to come, including an identity crisis, magic, kings, and secrets. I don’t know about you, but we’re waiting anxiously for Dani and Ramen Volume 3!