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Umbral #1

by kanchilr1 on November 13, 2013

Writer Antony Johnston Artist Christopher Mitten




Creator Antony Johnston set the comics press on fire with Wasteland. The apocalyptic tale was assisted with art duties by creator Christopher Mitten. Together, the two creators are set to launch a new book entitled Umbral. The story is supposedly a dark fantasy that the author has likened to projects like Dark Crystal, the big difference is that this story is not family friendly. The two have been making the press rounds frequently, and have some pretty interesting things to say about the series. The book was originally announced to a horde of extremely excited people over at Image Expo. Main character Rascal has witnessed the death of her family, and only she knows about it. This is all going to spin into a larger story with some massive world building, especially considering that their last series went a staggering 30 issues.




The protagonist comes off as instantly likeable through well written narrative captions that are not easy to write. The world is there right at the very beginning with a map of the kingdom and plenty of characters all present and ready to go. Readers have to admire Mitten and Johnston’s dedication to the work. Youthful mythology is combined with some of the outward ferocity present in Saga. There is a lot going on here, and may almost be too much for most to sink their teeth into. Readers are getting their money’s worth from this book with a $2.99 price point at a staggering 36 pages. The last half of the book is where the art and writing let loose and consume the reader. There is a sense of absolute magic that sweeps readers directly into the pages. The world goes pink and blue, and the two characters are submerged into darkness. All the characters aside from the protagonist are hiding deadly secrets that could really affect the long term of the book. There is a clear and present danger throughout every single page that permeates in this beautiful story.




Mitten’s art really sells this book to some of the more hesitant readers of independent properties. The artist really makes the environments come alive in different ways. Every page is a labor of love, with ink blots dripping down into sunset stained vistas. While the illustrator may not confine to the standards of modern comic book artwork, he offers a great alternative. Character designs are very distinctive, readers are not going to randomly forget the striking imagery in the title. The third pages features a four legged creature wrapped in ethereal silhouette. It shows that the two creators are really taking the medium seriously, and adapting around the tropes. At times, the characters can look to scratchy, and it is hard to tell what exactly is going on. These minor issues do not pop up that often, so readers can cast reservations aside, and enjoy the fine craft present in the book.



Mitten and Johnston come alive in the second half of this book. Watching the tale naturally progress from one point to the next is thrilling, and shows some real ambition on the behalf of both of the creators. Umbral #1 is a fantastical introduction into a brand new world.

Our Score:


A Look Inside