Remember waaaay back in my manchester comic con post and I said I'd blog about the indie comics I buy at cons. Well I'm finally getting round to that and starting with:
Nathan Hawthorne's Arksong
Why did I buy it?
It was a very long time ago I brought Arksong but I remember clearly what drew me to the series. Two things. The first was a particular image he had on the stall. It just looked amazing. It's currently the main background on his website and it's a good choice because I was like 'if that happens in this comic I'm in!'(It's not happened yet but I'm still happy)
The second was that not only are there superpowers in the comic, the comic itself has superpowers! There are a really cool AR features with Arksong that I'll get into later but yeah, cool image and an awesome tech quirk to it.
What is it?
Space Pirates!...well not space from what I can tell it's more like floating islands. Lirkia is an infamous space(not space) pirate aiming to steal what she was told was a weapon from the government but when she gets there, there's nothing but a mysterious scroll with some odd writing on. Lirika is able to recognise it as a type of music stumbling onto the Arksong, a song that can give certain people superpowers.
What are the characters like?
It's a small and focused cast in Arksong. There have been other characters but as in many comics where there is so much travel many side characters come and go. The main story focuses on Lirika, her first mate Fenghuang and whoever they pick up on the way. So far, they are a party of 3 (going on 4 me thinks) and I really like the dynamic they have going. Lirika is a ball of chaos pushing the story on, Feng has to keep her out of trouble but is very resigned to the fact that he will fail in that and their newest addition Kelpina is just trying to understand and survive having been raised in a temple for most of her life, poor baby.
Anyone particularly cool?
I loved the look of Lirika before even starting the comic so she's up there as a fave. She only shows herself to be a more cool and badass as the comic goes on. She's an interesting character. She is outwardly nonchalant but also very cold. She doesn't let people close and as much as that's lead to a bit of a downfall at the start of the comic she acts like she expected it so I have to wonder just how many times this woman has been betrayed to build this distrust she has of the world. Also makes me wonder about the history she has with Feng that built the trust she has with him.
Kepina is a cutie too. I've enjoyed her bringing a new dynamic to the team.
What's the bad news?
The only bad thing I can say about Arksong is the art is a bit inconsistent. You can tell by looking at which panels had more time and effort spent on them than others. Mostly, it's the smaller panels that lack action that can feel a bit off which is understandable as they probably aren't as fun to draw but they shouldn't be forgotten either. I can at least say this gets better as the comic goes on. There is much improvement in the art. (You can see that just in the covers above)
And the good news?
Right! now to blather about the AR.
Arksong comes with nice little instructions on how to discover more about the world and characters in its pages. Admittedly these instructions are a little old now the Aurasma app now goes by HP Reveal, so you'll need to search for that instead but other than that the same steps work (Though it does force you to use location data now...)
You can get some wonderful effects from the comic like this:
It's really cool. An inspired idea on how to get some extra info to the audience. Arksong stands up on its own but finding out bits about the locations and characters helps thicken this world that the author is trying to put together. It's fun just to flick through the comic to find all of the hidden secrets.
Would you recommend?
Yeah! Arksong is a pretty cool comic with some vibrant characters and a cool tech feature. Despite not being at the same con as Arksong since buying it I've been getting the recent issues from the online store at a reasonable price. Digital copies have also become available. Grab them here!
Last Time I reviewed any type of comic was a while ago with the Little Hero manga. You can check out my review here.