Sunday, April 2, 2017

Afar #1 Review (OGN)

A Calm Mind Solves Everything

Written by:  Leila Del Duca
Art by: Kit Seaton
Cover Price: $14.99
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Review by: Josh Vermillion

Sometimes it’s nice to sit down and read an entire self-contained story that isn’t broken up into monthly issues. Afar is the latest such title from Image, and one that really grabbed my attention when looking at the description. It’s fun to go into a book not having to focus on anything coming before it and just enjoy a new world that the author creates. So join me in venturing into this new world and seeing what’s going on.

The story follows Boetema and Inotu, brother and sister who have been left by their parents to fend for themselves while their parents try to make money. After Inotu gets captured by a cyborg bodyguard and thrown in jail, he befriends a little monkey who helps the siblings escape out into the desert. We get peaks of it before, but once they escape into the desert, we get into the part of the solicit that really got me interested in this book: Boetema’s powers.

When Boetema sleeps, she can travel to other planets and inhabit the bodies of others with the same ability. During one of her first trips to another planet, she inhabits the body of a girl named Lindu. While inhabiting this body, she accidentally gets Lindu’s boyfriend, Kimdar, shot and captured by their enemies. Boetema spends a long time trying to figure out how to get back to that planet and fix things. During one sleep, she encounters Agama Wanwitu, a legend of a dog that helps guide people that her people have told for years. Agama Wanwitu takes her to his master to be trained in the art of astral projection.

While she isn’t sleeping, Boetema and her brother travel to Yopan with the aid of Lady Abrinet, whom they encounter while lost in the desert. Abrinet sets them up with a place to stay and gives them jobs within her compound in Yopan. Abrinet quickly becomes suspicious of Boetema, as she hears her mumbling in different languages at night. Even when Boetema and Inotu tell her the truth, Abrinet doesn’t believe them and kicks them out of the compound to find work for themselves.

During one sleep, Boetema finally manages to make it back into Lindu’s body, where she befriends a man named Talo and gets to work on freeing Kimdar. While in Lindu’s body, Talo tells her that astral projections are very common on this planet, and is excited to learn that this means that Lindu can do it, too. After working together to free Kimdar and save their group, it looks like Talo and Boetema have bonded beyond just a friendship. They share a sad goodbye, but Boetema promises to visit in the future if Lindu agrees to share her body for a while. The book ends with Boetema and Inotu happily working in their various jobs, while Boetema spends her nights training to get better at what she does.

To be honest, for the first two chapters of this book, I didn’t care at all. The looks at different planets while Boetema slept were interesting, but I wasn’t getting enough to be really invested in the story. Then I read the second half of the book and really dug it. It was definitely one of the most unique concepts for a comic I’ve seen. I felt the same way about the art as I did about the story. I didn’t really like the art at first, but it grew on me as I read and by the end I enjoyed looking at it.

I have no idea if there will be a follow-up to this, but I would gladly read it if there is. There are so many different directions a series in this world could go, that I imagine if people like it they will continue the story. Even if this is the end though, Leila Del Luca wrote it well enough that it works as a standalone story if they choose to leave it here. Whatever the creators decide, I think Afar can be considered a win.

Bits and Pieces:

For the first half of the book, I wasn’t a big fan of the story or the art, but after the story found its stride and I came around to the art style, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The pacing is more like a novel than a typical comic, even a collection, but it works. Leila Del Luca put together a story that could continue on if she wants, but works just as well on its own. This is a pretty good read if you’ve got some extra cash and want to read a complete, well-written story.


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