Thursday, July 5, 2012

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World 1


Written by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride
Illustrated by Nick Brokenshire
Monkeybrain Comics

Worlds collide for Amelia Cole, a girl who has the ability to use magic and transport herself between a traditional earth and one in which amazing feats are commonplace.  Traveling through a door, she helps those in need, little suspecting that her very altruism might lead to deadly consequences.  Before Amelia can process the idea, she’s thrust into yet another world—with no way out.  It’s an urban fantasy with some interesting twists as part of the Monkeybrain Comics launch.

I have to admit, of all the Moneybrain launches, this was the one that I had some reservations about.  I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and read the genre only occasionally.  I love the idea of magic but it’s very hard to get right on the page.  Knave and Kirkbride, however, have done a good job setting up an interesting world and concept here that has me looking forward to the next issue.  After a setup that makes it appear that Amelia can use her magic freely, we are slammed with the reality that her casual use of such great power—especially in places that lack magic—has severe consequences.  Knave and Kirkbride aren’t afraid to harm Amelia and her world, which is something I don’t think independent creators take advantage of nearly often enough.  No one expects you to permanently Kill Johnny Storm, but someone like Amelia is a whole different animal.

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, like the other Monkeybrain titles I’ve read so far, really packs a lot into its page count.  Knave and Kirkbride keep the pacing high, never stopping very long before moving on to the next plot point as they work to have Amelia in her new status quo by the end of the issue.  I actually think it might have been better if they’d split this into two issues, to both heighten Amelia’s loss and give the reader time to understand the new universe they’re encountering.  I think they are trying to show how off-balance and sudden things are for Amelia in going this route—I just worry a bit that they might be putting some readers just a bit too off-balance.

Nick Brokenshire uses a realistic style that’s like a softer version of Steve Dillon, portraying Amelia, her aunt, and the world around her without exaggeration or cartoonishness.  He does an awesome job creating backgrounds, such as the aunt’s living room, which is filled with numerous items that look magical.  We can easily grasp the atmosphere of this comic just by looking around.  I also enjoy his desire to keep the camera angles varied and use perspective to impact on mood.  However, like the writers, it does seem at times like he’s trying a bit too hard to create drama, by placing too much focus on concerned eyes or having characters constantly looking around.  Overall, though, the look and feel of the art really meshes well with the storyline, and I’m curious to see how Brokenshire depicts the new world in which Amelia finds herself.

It’s hard to create a world from scratch in only one issue, but the creative team on Amelia Cole and the Unknown World strives to help the reader hit the ground running.  If they can maintain the breakneck pace while giving the reader time to catch up, this is going to be a great comic.  As it stands, it’s still a strong urban fantasy that fans of that genre will enjoy and others should sample to see if it works as well for them as it did for me.

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