-This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
Guest Writer: Stonie Williams
Creator – Melita Curphy
Writer – Singgih Nugroho & Ryan Cady
Artist – Sami Basri
Colorist – Sakti Yuwono
Dissonance tells the story of two worlds. The first is Terra Fantasme. A world of a species so advanced that they transcended their bodies. Perfect in many ways, these Fantasmen lacked a conscience. Their people were locked in never-ending war. Some sought a better way. They hoped to save their world from destruction. They found a species they felt could restore a balance to their home. Humans.
Fantasmen visit Earth and offer to advance mankind, giving them endless knowledge and the power of the Fantasmen. The idea is combining Fantasmen spirits into human bodies. The Fantasmen would exist inside their human vessel and learn the virtue only humanity could offer. The exact moment they arrived is unclear, but they changed the course of human history.
The symbiotic combination of human and Fantasmen has two forms. In most cases, the physical form changes in minor ways and the minds remained separate. It’s called a Half-Synch. Full-Synch created an new being and most consider it a perfect union. In either case, the symbiosis was permanent until the human host died. Only then could the Fantasmen return home.
The first issue of Dissonance follows three characters. The twins, Folke and Roisia Herviett and the Fantasmen Seraphim. Folke and Roisia have inherited their father’s legacy and role in a shadow-group. The refer themselves Rex Mundi, Latin for King of the World. They control everything from behind the scenes. Orchestrating chaos to keep the masses distracted.
Folke wants to limit casualties. He wants to reduce the number of innocents killed while they provide fear to keep people in line. Folke wants to do better than what his father did before him. But his father left big shoes to fill.
Roisia is much more traditional. She favors the mass destruction along with the rest of the group. We get flashbacks to their childhood, a car crash that left Roisia with a bad leg and presumably missing eye. But even before that, she had sadistic tendencies as we see her gifting her brother with a dead squirrel.
Seraphim is in search of an escaped prisoner. A creature called Ghaergos, the spirit of forbidden knowledge. Somehow, Ghaergos escaped his detainment and made it to Earth. Neither Roisia nor Folke have synched yet, and Seraphim isn’t looking to. But I have a feeling that will change in coming issues.
At over 20 pages, this page feels twice as big. The visuals are gorgeous, the story is compelling, and I found myself enthralled with every page. Sinngih and Cady have crafted a rich universe with a fantastic cast of characters. I’m not a huge anime fan, but this is something that speaks to me. The characters have sometimes conflicting motives that foreshadow some wonderful drama to come. I’ve become a pretty big fan of Ryan Cady’s, he has yet to let me down.
Basri’s art is magnificent. He gives the Fantasmen this alien-animal-human hybrid quality that is fascinating. Some of these characters you spend as much time looking at as you do reading the rest of the page.
Yuwono colors pop and provide a vibrant tone to the book that’s consistent throughout. Even when the book gets dark. And there are moments where it gets pretty dark.
Final thoughts: The first issue is great and had me on the edge of my seat. I walked away going “Wow…” and had to sit back and process for a while exactly what I had experienced. The book deals with some heavy themes, I wouldn’t hand this to anyone under teenage. Otherwise, this is a great book for fans of anime and those that aren’t. It edges that line between anime and American styles that will please fans of both. Until next time, happy reading!