Review: Shards Volume 1

I have been a comics reader as long as I can remember and although my love affair with comics has not been consistent, it appears I fall right back in love during its most epic events. Like when I was five years old and saw a copy of the crossover event between the Teen Titans and the X-men, I didn’t understand until years later, when that very issue was in a glass case at Jim Hanley’s Universe in Staten Island how important that was. I remember when DC decided to kill Superman, I never knew anything like that ever happening in comics, and although killing a major character is commonplace now, it was devastating then. Then there were what comics insiders like the now defunct Wizard magazine came to call it and even a documentary about it was known as, “The image Revolution.”

For the very first time, these writers, and artists, who were practically “rock stars”, and this was light years before social media. They introduced characters like Spawn, Maxx, and Savage Dragon, which not only have thrived but changed the perceptions of how dark a superhero can get. Rob Liefeld, finally got to do with Youngblood what he could not do with New Mutants. Jim Lee finally got to do with WildC.A.T.s what he could not do with the X-men.

These men ruled the comics world for years and although some have moved on their influence is felt, even at Image which is a whole different company. The comics world is now filled with many indie companies who all have come not only under the influence of DC and Marvel but also Image.  In my humble opinion, few other than Black Mask Studios and a handful of others, really have done as much in the spirit of Image. So, when I found out about In Hiatus Studios last summer, I was intrigued, as this was no ordinary comics company but a company whose creators, were a majority Filipino Americans.

If I can remember there has not been too many ventures like this, even though Filipino artists/writers have been working in the field for years like the extraordinary Whilce Portacio. What most intrigued me are the different genres they were working in, as many comics studios focus solely on superhero comics, this company is doing things a little different, in fact they are doing business in the spirit of Image. As their titles do include ones that focus on superheroes but also have a huge fantasy focus. They are literally letting their creators do the comics that they want to do.

In their introduction to the world, in the collection known as Shards Volume 1, the reader is introduced to a world they have never known, in fact, worlds, they have never seen. In Longshot, we are introduced to a world, where having superpowers, is as common as having a transit card, and two friends, both equally skilled, as one participates in the League, where the best of the best compete and the other is relegated to being a normal civilian, even though he yearns for the sport. In Winter, a story which has shadows of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, we meet an immortal being whose bored with eternity and yearns for death who she finds at her next turn. In Pug, we meet a ragtag group of warriors who coincidentally meet each other while on a hilarious search for a precious stone, which is not what any of them expected. In Strays, a group of travelers are on the run as death of a prince and a slave revolt turn their worlds upside down. In Rise, in the far future, the world has descended into the primordial version of itself, reinvigorating dark magic, ancient races, the undead and even, the supernatural, and an oncoming fight for the throne of this new world known as Pacifica, has this world ready to go to war. In Place of Honor, in a world that resembles the Underworld movies, but better written, a war between the Ryders (hunters) and the Wolves (Lycans), have raged for centuries, but a tide is about to turn, and this world will never be the same.

Overall, this must be one of the better introductions to comic book studio I have seen in a long time, as they have set a new standard and I cannot read another comic the same way again. The stories contained, although different in tone and storytelling, are great examples of perfect worldbuilding and meticulous character development. The art is to die for as every illustrator brings their own flavor, and although I have my favorites, there are no slouches here, as every artist is a heavyweight. Altogether, an excellent entrance of this new comic book company which I cannot wait to read each title as they come out over the next year.

Story: Pip Reyes, Kimberly Moss, Raf Salazar, Matt Ng, Don Ellis Aguillo, Digo Salazar
Art: Pip Reyes, Kimberly Moss, Raf Salazar, Matt Ng, Don Ellis Aguillo, Digo Salazar
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: GO BUY NOW!!!!