With the Milford Green Saga still fresh in our minds, we check out Mikael Hankonen’s fantastical webcomic, Year in Hereafter, about a group of young men who are transported to another world in order to battle a destructive mystical entity.
Year in Hereafter follows the story of Mika, a young man from Helsinki who travels with his older brother, Johannes, and his family to a remote farm run by Johannes in-laws for an internship. However, no sooner does Mika arrive, he finds himself thrust into a fantastical adventure of magic and monsters when he discovers the spiritual calling of this enigmatic family. Now, transported with the family’s staunchest sorcerer, Mika discovers he too has a destiny to wield a mystical sword and defeat the greatest evil on two worlds.
Mikael Hankonen has created an engrossing and compelling story within the page of Year in Hereafter, one that looks and feels truly fantastical from the very start. That said, while the fantasy elements are intriguing in themselves, what is the real draw of this series is the very human element. Year in Hereafter sports a selection of very unique and, in their own specific ways, likeable cast of characters whom all interact in very different ways to provide a varied range of emotional beats. In that respects, Hereafter is more of a slow burn comic that you would expect, offering a vibe similar to Curia Regis or Breaks in its focus on the characters who fill the story rather than any set pieces.
Of course, this is a double edged sword as the series does begin in a confusing manner thanks to its introduction of an immense cast all at the same time, leading to confusion as to who is who and what is going on. Fortunately, this is a problem which gradually rights itself the further you get into it as each character’s individual personalities shine through and you get to know them, and their journey better.
Of course, all of this might not be anywhere near as compelling without Hankonen’s artwork, which is the main draw of this series without a doubt. Mikael Hankonen’s style is absolutely gorgeous and imbues a real sense of atmosphere, reminding me very much of Ghost of the Gulag in it’s visual tone mixed with a little Curia Regis [again] in terms of its pastel-esque colouring. Meanwhile, the looks of the characters are really adorable, even at their darkest moments, hinting at a similarity to Manga characterisation (although this might be too broad a comparison given their pixie-like beauty).
One criticism that could be levelled towards the art would be the asexual appearance of the cast, as both the male and female characters look very similar to the point that it’s difficult to know what pronoun they relate to. That said, this is a small issue and maybe, given the world we live in today, one that really doesn’t need mentioning. Regardless, both their looks and personalities shine through to give these characters some truly captivating dynamics.
Year in Hereafter is a visually stunning and heavily intriguing comic series that is just pure beauty both in how it looks and how it is portrayed. While it does take a moment to warm up to, this is a series where getting past those initial bumps will result in a far greater reward to your reading time. In short, this is a comic that is definitely worth reading and realising that your time, much like the characters, will just fly by as a result.