I love this book. To its very core. It’s a character-driven, science fiction adventure, high stakes coming-of-age story. I can see the trail of inspiration, the creative landmarks that carved a way through history to get here: Godzilla, Akira, Evangelion, and countless others. It feels of the same value, the same creative energies, but it never steals, and it never mirrors.
On an earth in which most of civilization has been pushed into underground cities, gangs fight over what limited turf is available – a constant push back and forth. To change the tides of battle, they vie for a mineral called ambernoir which is highly explosive and can give either gang the upper hand. Above ground, the earth is cold, covered in snow and giant monsters, otherwise known in this genre as kaiju. If you’ve seen Godzilla, Cloverfield, Pacific Rim, or Evangelion, you know what kaiju is. These kauji are giant, scary, and to those underground, they make the world above that much more dangerous and off limits.
Two brothers-in-arms, Gogi and Zedo, are willing to do anything to join one of the gangs, even go to the surface to find ambernoir. So, they do. They are confronted by one of the kaiju and separated, and that is when our story truly begins. Gogi and Zedo have been sent spiraling in different directions, neither knowing what the fate of the other was. One goes back underground to deal with the gangs, and the other is found above ground by a group that calls themselves The Forsaken. The outcome of Gogi and Zedo’s journey is unknown to me, but this story is moving quickly. Every issue pulls and pushes our heroes naturally along divergent paths, and I’m smitten with their journeys, already emotionally invested and only three issues in.
One thing Carlos and Miguel Valderrama have done to enhance the experience is by creating playlists for each issue on Carlos’ account. Scroll down to his playlist and listen to the music as the story unfolds; it’s beautiful, otherworldly, intense, and melancholy. The Valderrama Bros. handle almost everything here – story, art, and lettering – and it’s a beautiful book to look at. It’s very cinematic, and the imagery and dramatic beats are poignant.
How much more do I have to say to get you to read it? Do you really need it to be made into a movie before you do?
Creative Team: Carlos and Miguel Valderran (story, art, lettering), Ethan Kimberling (designer), Randy Stradley (editor), Christianne Goudreau (Digital Art Technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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