The story centers around Per, a young girl training to be part of the Lions, a group of knights that protect the land. Per's sister Elena is the leader of the Lions and a prominent figure in their country. When Elena is assassinated before a major political vote, Per is forced to take her sister's identity in the hopes of maintaining peace and potentially uncovering Elena's killer.
The writing in A Sparrow's Roar is tight and efficient. Often times with these self-contained stories, you see the author biting off too much - trying to tell a massive story in the span of only a few pages. A Sparrow's Roar is exactly the length it needs to be to tell the story of a girl trying to avenge her sister's death and the political intrigue surrounding it. Of particular note was how well the writer managed to capture the different voices of all of the characters. Per especially could always be picked out by her dialogue alone, because of her sassy and informal tone; it made her especially likable.
The art style of A Sparrow's Roar has been popping up more and more in comics. It's a nice mix between American cartoons and Japanese anime, all wrapped up in this sketchy, vibrant package. It's visually appealing, and the artist uses it to great effect in comedic moments. On the technical level, the art is used to tell much of the story which frees the writer up to tell the story without long stretches of exposition. For instance, the cultures of each land Per visits are explained mostly through the backgrounds and character designs. One particularly nice moment is Per's fight with the man who killed her sister which intentionally mimics the same panels from her sister's fight with the man.
On the other hand, the artwork does have its weak spots. The artist is great with faces and backgrounds but has a blind spot in the middle. Long shots and close ups look absolutely phenomenal, but any shot involving characters in the middle distance feel messy and unfinished. This could potentially be a stylistic choice, but it just didn't work for me.
A Sparrow's Roar had an uphill fight to grab my attention. Once the ball began to roll (Chapter two is really where the book picks up steam.), it kept me on the edge of my seat. A Sparrow's Roar is a great selection for anyone who likes fantasy, especially if you've also got a taste for a little political intrigue. With the holiday season approaching, pick it up as a gift for your comic-book-loving friends!
Creative Team: C.R. Chua (Writer/Artist) Paolo Chikiamco (Writer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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