Aspen Comics and Big Dog Ink been around for a while now, and I can honestly say I have never read any of their series, until now. The story focuses on a young lady, who I can only describe as a “female Captain Nemo from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. In the opening scene of issue #1, she faces the evils that only siren mermaids can bring, as she loses crew members to the siren calls, she ultimately deploys plane and giant fighter bats to battle the ensuing dangers of the mermaids, as the second in charge. Her memory and her present intertwine through a series of flashbacks, as events happening remind her of seemingly unconnected events .
Her ship is destroyed and crew marooned on a remote island, and not to give anything away, she ends up becoming captain before the end of the 1st issue due to an unfortunate trap. In the 2nd issue, they face a conundrum, on whether to exact revenge, or help those who killed their first captain. Shahrazad decides to get in the middle f this war, and gets into a dogfight with out of all things, clouds. In the third issue, we are introduced to Janus, a Thanos type villain, who hosts fights for his own pleasure.
He kidnaps our heroine and makes her a gladiator while her crew drudges through the jungle. bickering amongst themselves before facing a armadillo type monster. In the 4th issue, Shahrazad faces a menagerie of opponents, as Janus, fails to see her future, while her crew fights through to the arena to try and save her. The villain, finds out a secret about her that was unknown to the reader until now, and probably makes even more sense in the finale, which is the next issue. The creative team behind the story, definitely have their feet firmly in the sands of high fantasy, and one would not be remised to say that there are hints of Robert Howard throughout the series, which is a great thing, while adds a few sprinkles of steampunk throughout.
The writing is definitely good and would love to see more from this writing team in the future. The art by all means, seems to the prevailing style at Aspen, but serves the story well. The combination of talents, in addition to the notes and essays at end of each issue, makes this a great series to read. Overall, a fun read.
Story: Kim Hutchison, Kari Castor, Tom Hutchison, Aaron Castor and Brett Cate Art: Mike Krome, Nei Ruffino, HDE
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Read
Aspen Comics and Big Dog Ink provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review