BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here‘s a list of all the books featured so far this month.
We continue with the first chapter of the Amya Chronicles, by writer Savannah Houston-McIntyre, artist Rebecca Gunter-Ryan and co-writer Andrew Hewitt
The world of Amya is one where reason rules the world but magic exists, which is, naturally, a bit of a confounding situation. It’s also a world without a centralized government, so you get all sorts of problems with the rulers of this area having conflicts with the ruler of that area and so on and so forth. That’s the situation we are thrown into when we meet two young people who have a chance encounter at the local open market, young Faye (who is mute, presumably from some sort of spell) and Accel…
However, meeting Accel gets Faye into trouble as it turns out that Accel is wanted by a bounty hunter named Vincent…
In this first volume of the chronicles of Amya, most of the time is spent getting to know our two heroes, Accel and Faye. When we first meet Faye, she is having a portentous dream of the future. Accel is your typical hotheaded “leap before he looks” type of fellow and the fact that he wears his emotions on his sleeves is how Vincent was able to track him down in the first place, and his impetuousness from leaving home appears to have caused a further disturbance, as some sort of powerful being is out to attack Accel while he and Faye are prisoners on a train headed back to Accel’s home. Vincent now is willing to work with them, as after all, as he amusingly notes, he doesn’t get paid if they’re dead…
If I am reading the FAQ on Amya’s site correctly, the comic is written based on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which is certainly one of the more interesting ways to come up with a comic book plot that I’ve ever seen.
Houston-McIntyre and Hewitt do a good job crafting the characters through their interactions, although I think I would have preferred to have seen Faye developed a little more early on before she meets Accel. Once she meets Accel, Accel begins to drive the narrative almost entirely and as a result, Faye gets a bit of short shrift, which is a shame as her opening introduction definitely suggests that there is something big going on with her.
Gunter-Ryan’s artwork is excellent. Her character designs stand out in the comic, as well as the expressive nature of her characters. If Houston-McIntrye and Hewitt’s dialogue play a major role in getting to know these characters, so, too, does Gunter-Ryan’s artwork, as she sells the slimy appeal of Vincent, the zeal (sometimes foolishly so) of Accel and the shy, but determined nature of Faye (Faye is especially hard to draw as she HAS to be expressive since she has no dialogue). The FAQs, by the way, note a thing that IS a bit of a problem, which is that Faye’s handwriting is often difficult to read.
Coming up with intriguing characters is roughly 90% of the appeal of a comic book and Houston-McIntrye and company have done a great job doing just that. These are characters that you want to follow all over the world of Amya.
You can read the whole chronicles of Amya at their website here (I’d send you to their store but it SEEMS like they’re sold out of print copies of Chapter 1).
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