Wednesday, 17 December 2014

So I Read Umbral: Out Of Shadows

A 250 word (or less) review of Umbral Vol. 1
By Antony Johnston, Christopher Mitten, and John Rauch; Image Comics

Fantasy seems to be an under represented genre of fiction in comics. When I think of how much geeks love their magic and swords and the popularity of certain fantasy properties in other media, it seems there should be a demand for fantasy comics. I know I'm interested in reading more. Umbral is an epic fantasy horror comic that seems well suited to capitalize on this trend. It tells the story of Rascal, a wonderfully salty-tongued thief, who is friends with the crown prince of The Kingdom of Fendin. On the eve of the eclipse, the two conspire to steal The Oculus, a mysterious magical artifact, from the royal vaults. Unfortunately the eclipse is also when mysterious demons attack the palace in pursuit of the same Occulus, thrusting Rascal into a world of magic, demons, and terror. Umbral hits this great balance of filthy-mouthed swashbuckling fun and oh-shit creepy madness. I really enjoyed it. Out Of Shadows is also a really great example of a straightforward, throw you into the action opening chapter: Rascal and company are tossed right into it and spend the issue running for their lives. This approach got me invested in the story, but leaves a lot of plot and world building for future issues. This is a chapter, not a complete story. I found the art to be mostly pretty great: it’s evocative and pleasantly nightmarish. There are some confusing storytelling issues at key moments. Overall I think Umbral is a great fantasy comic option.

Post by Michael Bround

Word count: 250

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