With the majority of comics that we cover from the UK, Europe and the US, it’s easy to forget that there is a whole world of comics being produced elsewhere on the planet. This week we broaden our global horizons with a look at Decapolis: Prelude to Bathory #1 by South Korean based creator Geovanni Flores as he gives readers a first look at the heroes of his own world.
Publisher: Fayth Studios
Writer: Geovanni Flores
Artist: Geovanni Flores, Guilherme Lindemberg (Additional Colours)
Price: £1.59 from ComiXology
Decapolis: Prelude to Bathory follows the exploits of Fayth, Gaiden and Oscuridad, three superheroes who work in different ways to protect their home city of Decapolis. On this particular night, as Fayth surveys the city from above before putting a stop to an armed robbery gone wrong, Gaiden assaults a gang’s hideout in order to put an end to a kidnapping as his brother Oscuridad returns home fearful that the dark demons he is meant to manipulate could actually end up controlling him. However, the events of each of these heroes may pale in comparison when their ally, Special Liaison Constable Carr, is called to the scene of a grisly crime which has left his fellow officers unnerved, as a masked figure watches from the shadows.
Geovanni Flores has formed a very simple story within this opening issue, as he uses it to display a form of introduction to each member of his cast. He does this by breaking the issue down into a series of vignettes. Each portion feels self contained, only briefly referencing one of the others in order to confirm the idea of interconnectivity. The characters themselves feel familiar in their designs and personalities, particularly Fayth and Gaiden who look and feel like Amalgams of various DC characters. Beyond this however, and despite dedicated sections focusing on them, all the characters feel a little underdeveloped here and little is shown of them beyond the surface to make them come across as memorable. Otherwise, the dialogue does read solid, but is hampered by the confusing inclusion of the Dante’s Inferno quote which has me wondering if Fayth is feeling lost or in some way unsure of the direction he should take. If this were the case, I wonder if he would have had more of an impact on me.
That said, the Flores’ art style comes across as much more of the draw (no pun intended) in this title. Flores has a very bold, clean style, offering reminiscence of SJ Webster’s Joe Cape and Dan Butcher’s Vanguard (with maybe a subtle hint of Gavin Mitchell’s work in The Pride). Meanwhile, the colours, while dark to fit the somewhat Dark Knight Returns-esque aesthetic of this world, still offers up a boldness to match the pencils as well as a degree of vibrancy to help Flores’ lines stand out.
Decapolis’ opening issue is a comic which has really fancy artwork but lacks the body of a story to make it mandatory reading. That’s not to say that the skeleton isn’t there as Flores certainly leaves intriguing plot threads dangling (such as what the police are all afraid of?), but future issues would need to offer more character exposition in order to fill out this world and make it’s heroes empathetic characters. That said, I’d say it is still worth a look if nothing else.