Redemption and second chances. It’s that type of character, flawed but seeking deliverance from their past in the world, that we love to see. The underdog. The wronged. Those fighting for justice. All these themes are prevalent in Eden, a ComiXology Originals graphic novel.
The story begins with random people being released from cryofreeze. Anna Croft is our main character, and she narrates the story of her release and subsequent adventures. From the get-go, she is likeable, and we want to know more about her. As the initial pages unfold, we find out that her husband Ben has also been released from cryofreeze. With a bit of backstory, we learn that their son was kidnapped and later found dead, crimes for which the couple were unjustly imprisoned and frozen for the duration of their sentence.
Yet when Anna, Ben, and the other prisoners escape, they find out they are alone. The world as they knew it is gone. Instead, they discover a dystopian world filled with prehistoric monsters. They return to where they were freed, and by the following morning, the rest of the prisoners have also been released. It’s up to Anna and Ben to work on a utopian new world to survive, but their plans are undermined by prisoners being killed off by monsters one by one and new leads on the murder of their son to follow.
Divided into five sections, Eden is a fast-paced story. The sections allow the reader to take a breath which is necessary when something moves so quickly with action and twists. It’s really an un-put-downable book; I wanted to keep turning pages to find out what happened next. The only issue with it is there are so many twists and characters within a very complex story that I walked away wishing there was more deep diving into things that happened. It could very easily have been a ten-section graphic novel and allowed the reader to fully explore every inch of this dystopian world. It would also allow us to spend more time with Anna, Ben, and the others, so we could see the characters grow and change over time versus skipping days, possibly months, and skimming over those important arcs.
Overall, though, the story is easy to follow which is to the credit of writer Matthew Arnold. With such complexity and only 131 pages, he was able to provide all of the essential information we needed to form bonds with Anna and Ben and to understand their pasts, along with the others we are introduced to. The twists in the story hit hard because of the pace, and by the end, I was left with my eyes wide and mouth hanging open. That’s a very talented writer.
The art is spot-on, not only bringing the story to life, but extremely intricate, especially notable with how the shadows from the jungle fall on the characters under a tree canopy. This kind of attention to detail makes the art pop and drags the reader into that environment. The coloring is also beautiful and shows great distinction between present day and the past, as well as with each environment.
Eden is a solid entry into the world of graphic novels and dystopian worlds. It’s enjoyable, smartly written, and has unpredictable twists. Just remember: When you read it, there will be very little to stop you until the end!
Creative Team: Matthew Arnold (writer), Riccardo Burchielli (artist); Luca Salce (colorist); Ed Dukeshire (letterer); Will Dennis (editor)
Publisher: ComiXology Originals (Digital), Dark Horse Books (Print)
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