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Review: Zahra: The Shadow Flame #2

Zahra: The Shadow Flame #2

What do you do when your life is in crisis mode? Do you leave town hoping to get away form your trouble? Or do you confront it head on, leaving no chance for it exacerbate? There is no right answer in this situation as the nature of humans is either fight or flight. Neither says much of their character but does say much of how one handles issues.

As life is full of challenges, sometimes they don’t go your way. That’s when most people’s mettle is challenged. How one pivots from that becomes tantamount to who you are. No matter how many times you fall down, how you move forward becomes emblematic of your faith and will. In the second issue of Zahra The Shadow Flame our hero finds her way and comes out even stronger.

Zahra is still on the run soon after her mother, Duha, provides a distraction, as she seeks refuge from her friend, Amani. Meanwhile, Zahra’s father, Suliman, wakes up from a coma that he suffered by being burnt, as the secret police advises him that Duha and Zahra are witches. As Zahra and Amani look for help, the secret police notice her and end up in a battle which gives Zahra more control of her powers and melancholic knowledge of what/ who it has killed. By issue’s end, Zahra is abducted by an unknown force while Suliman accepts help from a mysterious patron.

Overall, an excellent installment in this enthralling series which captures the modern Middle East, not the one some people would make you believe. The story by Rakan Sindi and Kali Baker-Johnson is smart, fast paced, and affecting. The art by Davide Tinto and Michelle Montrose is awe inspiring and lifelike. Altogether, a story which will have readers delving deeper into this part of the world.

Story: Rakan Sindi and Kali Baker-Johnson
Art: Davide Tinto
and Michelle Montrose
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zahra: The Shadow Flame #1

Families usually hide family secrets like hidden treasures, as some of those secrets were hidden for a reason in the first place. As when family members find out the truth behind what they considered facts, one of two feelings usually overwhelm the individual. The first one is genuine surprise, where you get overwhelmed with the novelty of the news. The second and most probable reaction, is betrayal, as they feel the need to lie to the family members for some unforeseen reasons.

In real life, Jack Nicholson, found out that the woman he thought was his sister, was actually his mother. This very story was told on a current storyline in the new show, Mayans MC, where one of the club members finally reveals to a girl who was raised as his sister, to be his daughter. Some family secrets are sometimes too much for those affected to ever know. In the debut issue of Zahra The Shadow Flame, we find one young lady coming to grips with what she just found about who she will become and her family’s powers.

We meet Zahra Darwesh, a young lady, who has a rather unusual but mystical connection to fire, as she can manipulate flames like most people can bend straws, as she belongs to a long family line of powerful women with powers known as the Birthweepers. As the only child of a council member in a mythical country called United Arabia, as she struggles with being a teenage girl and hiding the secret of her powers. One day, a fire ignites at her school causing Zahra to leap into action, saving hundreds of girls, but catching the eye of local authorities. By issue’s end, the secrets her and her mother holds, destroys her family, revealing a loved one to be the true villain of the story and that her journey to self-discovery is only beginning.

Overall, an engaging story that reveals the dangers of anachronistic beliefs, the changing roles of power when it comes to gender and embracing who you really are is the only truth. The story by Baker-Johnson and Sindi, is full of twists, layered and action packed. The art by Tinto and Montrose, is gorgeous. Altogether, a stark and fresh take on the superhero origin story, one which is emblematic of the evils of sexism and that heroism is not only for those wearing capes.

Story: Kali Baker-Johnson and Rakan Sindi Art: Davide Tinto and Michelle Montrose
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy