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Review: Zindan #4

Zindan #4

When you have no options left, what do you do? Where do you turn? How do you go forward? These are the questions when it seems there’s no hope, that you must answer for yourself. When it seems as though you have no light guiding your dark days. If you grew up in a religious family, you would hear sayings that stoked your faith. From my Roman Catholic Filipino mother, I would hear “God will only put us through those things that make us better”.

From my Trinidadian Muslim father, I would hear “And He will provide him from he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things.” Faith gives us a vision where our eyes cannot guide us as we cannot see the future, but we can ask for a greater being to look out for us. We must remember these things when life throws us those curve balls we never saw coming. In the fourth issue of Zindan, Timur and Zain are still trying to pickup the pieces after an unfathomable betrayal.

We find the Shah of Punjab returning to his palace in Lahore, with this capital brimming with intrigue and hungry peoples lining the streets, as they revel in the victory, they had over the Ansaars, not knowing Zain and Timur are waiting in the shadows. We also find Tara and her companions fighting their way through the Shah’s men in the desert, trying to equalize the damage his men unleashed on the Ansaars. We also are taken to Herat, where Zain and Timur are being hunted by Tatar soldiers, as the betrayal they suffered in the last issue has left the brothers with few options. By issue’s end, as Timur finds a moment of solace only for it to be interrupted by the Tatar soldiers who are there to end the Last of the Ansaars.

Overall, an excellent issue that gives fans a complex world where the heroes look like the people of color this mythology is built on. The story by Omar Mirza is well developed and well characterized. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, an installment that proves Mirza is an expert storyteller.

Story: Omar Mirza
Art: Sajad Shah, Adelso Corona, Mostafa Moussa, La Beau Underwood, Bryan Valenza, Jessica Jimerson, Alonso Espinosa, Roberto Vargas,
and Joe Weems
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #3

As a fan of high fantasy, there is nothing like these experts in fiction and the world they usually let the readers become part of. As the fine art of worldbuilding, is central to the believability of every story set in this genre. One of the most memorable and will be rejuvenated with a new take very soon, is the very much celebrated Lord Of The Rings. As that world is very much like ours in certain aspects as everything is not always as it seems.

The trilogy of films made by Peter Jackson, made the books more inclusive and even made the use of Olde English even more understandable to the common ear. One of my favorite parts of the movies, is when Aragorn ask the Army Of The Dead for help, as compared to their other allies, one can automatically see their alliances are only to themselves, but they help so that their debt is forgiven. Sometimes in life, you never know when you need help and from whom, and how it will show up. In the third issue of Zindan, our protagonists find themselves either walking into a haven or a wolf’s trap, only time will tell.

The brothers enter a part of the city only known as the Herat, a place neither Zain Or Timur has ever seen anyone affected with the affliction these women have. Meanwhile, the Mughals ponder on the information an informant has given them, even though it has given them Zindan, based on their information, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is starting to become skeptical nonetheless. Also, the last of the Ansaars, are headed to Zar Pahaarh, to inform the keepers of the book that Zindan has fallen and evil has been unleashed. By issue’s end, not everyone makes it to Zar Pahaarh.

Overall, it’s an action-packed entry in this ever expanding story. The story by Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin, is fun, relatable, and exciting. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a fun issue that gives the reader more insight into how and who was responsible for the fall of Zindan.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Sajad Shah, Adelso Corona, Alonso Espinosa, and Jessica Jimerson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #2

The term “As Rome burned,” is used mostly to describe the fallout of a major event or a disaster. This is a test most people. When disaster strikes, how they will either step up or how they will inevitably fail. This internal struggle within all of us is what makes characters in dystopian stories so interesting and can draw massive audiences and fandoms. And example is The Walking Dead series which through television reached an audience greater than the fans the comic it is based on.

Take the character of Darryl from the show, who was an original creation. As it was revealed a few seasons back, he was just following his brother before the apocalypse. If the zombie apocalypse never happened, at some point, he may have done something heroic but unlikely. These events often put people in situations where they have to step up or perish. It doesn’t have to be an event like a zombie apocalypse for someone to show their potential. In the second issue of Zindan we find Timur and Zain at a crossroads as the rest of the Ansaars dead and they must figure out what to do next.

With the legendary Zindan in ruins, unspeakable evils have been released upon this world. Bandits threaten to grab whatever riches are left of the Ansaars. Zain and Timur find themselves faced with the decision to stay in the only home they’ve ever known, or to venture out into a world that had only betrayed them as children. Will Zain and Timur risk everything to go after “The Immortal” and his deadly allies, including Khan “The Man Eater” and Tara “The Temptress”?

Overall, the issue is another interesting chapter in this ever-evolving series which carries on the tropes of this genre but with a more realistic flare. The story by the creative team is intelligent, well developed, and makes you care about the characters. The art by the creative team, though with some different artists, continues to make this book, a joy to look at. Altogether, an excellent installment that gives fans a few more reasons to following this outstanding comic series.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, JL Straw, Pasquale Qualano, Alonso Espinoza, Jessica Jimerson and Sajad Shah
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #1

When it comes to epic fantasies, it feels like most stories center on some medieval band of friends or acquaintances somewhere in Europe or some version of it. I remember when I read Lord Of The Rings for the first time. I was entranced by the characters, the world and the journey that these characters would go. It transported the reader to places that would only be in the deep recesses of JRR Tolkien’s brilliant mind, shaped by his experience as a soldier during World War I. Like most children of color, I was left wondering if there was somebody that looked like me in this magical world?

This question would be answered in the movies. I watched the films conflicted. I enjoyed the interpretation by Peter Jackson but was also disgusted that even the movies had no one that looked like me. Fast Forward to today and these issues is being addressed and challenged with major book companies signing more writers of color. In the first issue of Zindan, we catch up with Timur and Zain as they battle evil spreading across India.

As the Mughals overrun India, we are introduced to Wayl al-Ahtab , also known as the Immortal  and the leader of the escaped prisoners, as he no mere mortal as he cannot be killed by swords . Soon they lay waste to what is left of the royal army as he seeks revenge against those who have imprisoned him, the Ansaars. We also catch with Timur and Zain as they bury their father figure and mentor, Khalid, as they grieve over him, they also must come to terms with what has happened to India. By issue’s end, Timur and Zain find where Wayl al -Ahtab was held while he is headed towards Bamyan for his own reckoning.

Overall, it’s an exciting chapter in this comic series which shows that these stories is not part of a tradition but the genesis of this well-traveled tradition. The story by the creative team is thrilling and well-paced. The art by the creative team is alluring. Altogether, it’s an installment which drops you in the middle of the action and leaves the reader breathless.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Mehtabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, Jessica Jimerson, Mike Krome, Sabine Rich, Alonso Espinoza, and Sajad Shah
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #0

As a cinephile, I am often drawn to both stories and personalities, and usually in that order, as no matter how good an actor is at their craft, if the story is not well written it’s a waste for the audience. The material must be good and the actors must understand the material and form their own connection to it. You can see the commitment made by certain actors by how convincing they are. One of the most underrated actors of our time, is James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. His portrayal was spellbinding and it was not until years later, I found out that he was not even British, he’s from California. Shows how good of an actor I think he is.

Another such portrayal is Antonio Banderas’ portrayal of the titular character in Zorro. That reinvigorated character in many fans minds including mine. I grew up watching the cartoon and the Disney live action TV show. What made me appreciate his character is how he and his brother were a pair of orphans who became bandits but only he became more than that. I wished I could have seen more of the two brothers. Their dynamic was something special and could have been so much more. In epic saga Zindan we meet two brothers, much like the two brothers in the movie, except both became more than their beginnings.

We are taken to the time of the Ansaars, 1681, a dynasty that would rule India for almost four centuries, and would turn family against each other, until the dominant came to rule. We meet two brothers, Zain and Timur, who were both orphans, as the castle that they grew up in, burns down. As they find Khalid, the man who saved them form a life of bondage, dying in Timur’s arms, they realize war was coming their way. Through a series of flashbacks, we find an emissary from the House of Alamgir, who has demanded their kingdom give up all their resources or be crushed. Soon armies from Alamgir start attacking the castle, first by raining down arrows of fire all over the kingdom. Next, they attacked by barging through the first defense with elephants. As their armies started to crumble, Alamgir’s army of Mughals descend on the fortress in full force. By issue’ end, the Mughals have penetrated through the fortress’s entrances, as the legend of the castle’s many secrets prove to be true.

Overall, this “first issue” is a sweeping fantasy tale that is more than an adventure but an exploration of what one is capable when they are pushed to the brink. The story is immersive, action packed and well developed. The art is simply gorgeous. Altogether, a tale which leaves readers invested in these characters and this world.

Story: Omar Mirza and Khurram Methabdin
Art: Adelso Corona, Jessica Jimmerson, Sajad Shah, Alonso Espinoza and Sabine Rich
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy