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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Diamond Star Issue 1. Troy Vevasis (Writer), Alethea Van Holland (Art), Nikki Sherman (Letters). Tenacious Comics (March, 2017)

Very engaging and enjoyable story about a young woman who completes a dangerous journey and realises that it is really the first step in a greater journey. Irena is asked by her father to deliver the Diamond Star to his dying brother who oversees the skies and if he dies all life will end. Irena takes the Diamond Star and heads off of the journey which is as eventful as it should be.
Troy Vevasis takes a very simple framework and delivers a story with great heart and charm, an engaging lead character who has to make interesting choices and decisions. Troy Vevasis solves the two major story problems with care and thoughtful detail, the first is the the gender of the lead charachter. This is a  tricky choice to make and get right, a young man is an easy choice, there is an enormous tradition of stories and forms to rest against and draw down to build upon. Chosing a female lead is somewhat more complex, it carries the implied idea of being deliberately non traditional, to have a sub text of making a point which can jostle uneasily with such a simple story framework. The utter naturalness of the story means that the lead character is allowed to simply be herself without sense of the reader being directed any way.
The second is the problems that Irena encounters on the way to her uncle, they need to be sufficiently serious to be an actual test of character without being too dense, they are perfectly set up to demonstrate both Irena's care for others and her willingness to be tough and tough minded. She is willing and capable of handling trouble, when adventure entices she will be ready to embrace it.
Alethea Van Holland's art is a pleasure to read, it captures the moving spirit of the story, an adventure quest that tests the hero, with subtle detail and wonderful expressiveness. The cast are energetic and varied, they all move through their context with natural force and eloquent body language. The villains are strongly villainous, they are clearly a serious threat, facing them is not a simple matter. Irena takes the strain with sharp and clear determination. The colours capture and amplify the emotional context of the story with subtle strength, the bright shades express the fantasy element of the story without compromising it.
Nikki Shermn's letters are are quiet, they flow naturally within the panels, delivering information without ever being obvious, a significant achievement.
A straightforward story leaves the creators nowhere to hide, when it is done as nicely as it is here it looks easy, there is tremendous craft hiding in plain sight here, a pleasure.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Troy Vevasis, to purchase a copy of The Diamond Star Issue 1, which you should to increase your joy in living, it is available from   Tenacious Comics 

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