-This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
Guest Writer: Bryan Parke
Story: Ram V
Art / Cover: Dev Pramanik, Dearbhla Kelly
I’ve come to Image Comics’ Paradiso #1 completely cold; I knew nothing of the story or the characters before I opened the issue. We can guess at the some of the subject matter at least from the cover; skin ripped away from a bionic/cybernetic arm and a strangely pulsing energy source. OK, this is something I can definitely get into!
We start with a flashback scene, the shadowy tones of the art conveying the night time setting, broken by the light of the mysterious energy source, and the creepy mechanical horror apparently seeking it. And we meet Jack, the child who takes the power cell and runs away.
Fast forward now to Jack the adult, and we learn of the apparently apocalyptic lands he has traveled for many years, and the city of Paradiso; a nirvana that the poor outcasts and scavengers who live beyond its walls hope one day to enter.
Jack barters passage into the city with the Redwaters, a seemingly notorious gang, and as Jack waits for his transport we find out about the strange power of the energy source as it seems to miraculously fix a broken child’s toy.
Jack’s journey to Paradiso is ambushed by the marvelously eccentric and over the top Mr Dandy and Mr Honeybad, two cybernetically enhanced henchmen who have instructions to stop people entering the city! Jack is left unconscious by the pair who in turn takes the energy source from him. At the same time the leader of the Redwaters learns of the strange power source and takes a great interest in it; things are not looking so rosy for poor Runaway Jack!
The creative team have done a great job in this first issue; dropping us straight into an engaging story, with interesting and quirky characters. The art and coloring are evocative; capturing the essence of the ruined wasteland. The perspective and pacing of the action sequences fit the story well. Adding all this story, characterization, art, and pacing together and you find you have a cracking first issue. Hats off to Ram V, Pramanik, and the rest of the team!
As a bonus we get a 4 page sneak preview of Void Trip; this looks like another intriguing story. Add this to the main event and Paradiso #1 is highly recommended.