Dusu: Path of The Ancient Review by Eugene Alejandro

The Dusu: Path of the Ancient Kickstarter-exclusive hardcover is a collection of the the four issue mini series published by Stranger Comic’s Asunda imprint that I got as an extra reward for backing the Kickstarter for the Niobe: She is Life Kickstarter (which in case you don’t already know, I have made a review for Niobe: She is Life already).

Dusu: Path of the Ancient is written by Sebastian A. Jones and Christopher Garner, illustrated by James C Webster who does most of the art while Darrell May once again serves as the layout artist like he did for The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, and Niobe: She is Life. The lettering is also done by A Larger World Studios (coming back from their previous work on Niobe: She is Life).

The story in Dusu: Path of the Ancient is about a human male who is raised by a native tribe of Elves. Although he is member of the tribe, he is mostly looked down upon by some of the other members because of the fact that he’s a human. Despite this, get is gifted with powers that allow to literally unleash his inner animal which he will have to use in order to stop a very evil and powerful man who also has spiritual powers (this review is spoiler free, so I won’t reveal too much details about the plot).

The world building for the Asunda Universe continues to get even better thanks the incredible writing in Dusu: Path of the Ancient. Sebastian A. Jones truly has created a unique and fascinating fictional world since he knows how you write good stories about them. This story works well as a four part mini as the sets up the characters very well, builds the conflict, and ends everything on a good note. Although I will say that I found the ending a bit confusing.

Of all the Asunda Titles from Stranger Comics that I have read so far, the artwork in Dusu: Path of the Ancient is in my opinion the most beautiful looking comic of them all, and that is thanks to the painted art style of James C. Webster. Now I will be honest and admit that there are some panels in which the artwork looks a bit smudged, but the rest of art in my opinion is fantastic to look at.

The different styles of lettering in this comic are also very good. I honestly can’t say too much about it, but what I will say that the way the lettering looks is that reading this comic will be very easy thanks to it.

As with the Niobe: She is Life hardcover, this hardcover comes with at least two bonus stories as well at the end with one of them being an entire first issue of Erathune, as well as a random Tales of Asunda story afterwords. This hardcover collection also has a gallery of cover art, sketches, etc at the end.

While I can only recommend Dusu: Path of the Ancient who older readers because of the mature content featured in it, it is still worth reading as it serves as another good reason as to why the Asunda Universe deserves a lot of attention within the comics industry.

I give Dusu: Path of the Ancient 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

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Niobe: She is Life Review by Eugene Alejandro

Niobe: She is Life is a four issue comic book mini series written by Sebastian A. Jones & Amandla Stenberg, illustrated by Ashley A. Woods & Darrell May, and lettered by A Larger World Studios. It is part of the Asunda Universe, thus it is published by Stranger Comics under the Asunda imprint.

For my review of this comic, I will be reviewing the hardcover collection of it because I got it as a reward for backing the official Kickstarter for it. Also because of that, I also got the hardcover collection for Dusu: Path of the Ancient as a bonus reward which I will also write a review for as well.

Niob: She is Lief tells the story of the human elf hybrid from The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer named Niobe who is trying to escape from her father’s army, and ends up encountering a dwarf who leads a group of pure-blood elves, and even has one of its members being a human-orc hybrid. With nowhere else to go, she decides to stay with them for a bit and get to know much more on as to who they all are.

Before I can begin talking about this comic, one detail that I forgot to mention in my review for The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer is that Stranger Comic’s Asunda titles are NOT for children as they contain mature readers content such as gore and nudity. So I greatly apologize for leaving that fact out before, and I promise that in this as well as in my future reviews for Stranger Comic’s Asunda comics is that I’ll be sure to mention that from now on so that the people reading these reviews can be informed about that fact. With that out of the way, on to the review.

While Niobe: She is Life is a much shorter story than The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer because of it being only 4 issues long (while the previous Asunda comic that I just mentioned is 7 issues long), the writing by both Sebastian, and Amanda is still very excellent as the plot moves at a good pace, and adds enough development to the characters in order for the reader to like them, and know who they are. Without going into spoilers, I especially loved the final climax in this comic as it does a very good job at ending this story.

Ashley A. Woods’s artwork in this comic has a very typical penciled and inked look that readers would most see in a typical comic book, but the art in Niobe: She is Life is very amazing to look at thanks to the incredible amount of detail Ashley puts into the character designs, the backgrounds, and the creature designs. Darrell May’s layout work is still as good as it was in The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer as well.

While I sadly have not known of A Larger World Studios as this is the first comic that I read featuring their lettering work (I hope I am right about that though), their lettering is still something that I would call professional because the speech bubbles and text are very easy to look at, and even the white text that is meant to be narration is also easy to see, and surprisingly fits the backgrounds just fine.

Now as I have stated in the beginning, Niobe: She is Life is not a comic a kid should be reading due to the amounts of blood featured in it. Now while its true that the level of mature content is a little more tame compared to The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, I would still prefer it if only people 18 years or older read this comic just to be safe.

At the end of the main story, this hardcover collection for Niobe: She is Life features a one-shot bonus story called Morka Moa which is written by both Sebastian A. Jones & Darrell May, and its even fully drawn by Darrell May himself. There is also a short preview for the next Niobe story; Niobe: She is Death (which I would love to review whenever I read the hardcover edition of it whenever possible).

Besides those two extra stories in this hardcover collection, the rest of the extra and bonus material features concept art, variant covers, sketches, etc, and they are definitely worth looking at after reading this comic.

So with all said and done, Niobe: She is Life is a great addition to the Asunda Universe, and I can totally recommend it to anybody who wants to read a high and epic fantasy indie comic.

I give Niobe: She is Life 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer Review by Eugene Alejandro

The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer is the both the first The Untamed comic book story arc, as well as the very first comic published by Stranger Comics for their Asunda Universe imprint. It is written and created by Sebastian A. Jones, illustrated by both Peter Bergting and Darrell May, and lettered by both Joshua Cozine and Troy Peteri.

Before I start this review, I should quickly mention the fact that I am only reviewing the hardcover collection of The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer only because that is how I read it. Also, this (along with my other reviews for Stranger Comic’s Asunda Universe titles) will be a spoiler free review.

The plot of The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer is about a man who is sent back into the real-world after dying in order to collect seven souls in exactly seven days. While on this mission, he encounters a human-elf hybrid named Niobe (with this comic being her very first appearance as she also appears in other comic books in the Asunda Universe from Stranger Comics) who ends up becoming his ally on his quest.

Before I start saying how I personally felt about The Untamed: Sinner’s Prayer, please allow me to quickly talk about the Asunda Universe for just a bit since I’ve mentioned at the very start of this review. The Asunda Universe is an imprint from Stranger Comics that publishes comic books and graphic novels that are all connected in the fictional world of Asunda. Asunda is a world in the fantasy genre where humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and other typical and even original fantasy races exist. This fictional comics universe was created by Sebastian A. Jones, and (as already stated) is published by Stranger Comics.

For the very first comic that’s part of the Asunda Universe (as well as the publishing imprint its named after), The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer is a good beginning and introduction to the fictional world its a part of thanks to a lot of the qualities it has that are required to make a good comic.

For starters, the writing by Sebastian A. Jones is very good as the story is very easy to understand and pay attention to, and all the characters are written with a strong amount of development to them. While there isn’t too much world building in this comic, what is presented here does at least help the reader understand what goes on in the world of Asunda.

The artwork in The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer by Peter Bergting, and Darrell May fits this comic very well thanks to how awesome Peter’s illustrations are as he truly knows how to draw emotional and thrilling panels in this comic. This is also helped by Darrell May’s layout designs as without his contribution, the art wouldn’t be as good as it is now.

Joshua Cozine, and Troy Peteri’s lettering in this comic looks excellent as it is very easy to look at and understand all the dialogue spoken by the characters. The speech bubbles are presented in a very clear fashion, and the rest of the overall lettering is easy to follow.

Since I am reviewing the hardcover collection of The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer, I want to quickly talk about all the special bonus content featured at the end of the book. I don’t wanna spoil any specifics as to what they are, but what I will say is that if your the kind of reader who wants to see some extra content after reading like I do, then I highly recommend buying this comic in the hardcover collection format because what is presented at the end of it is really interesting and totally worth taking a look at.

So in conclusion, The Untamed A Sinner’s Prayer is without a doubt a solid beginning and introduction to the Asunda Universe, and I look forward to reading the next The Untamed comic whenever I can.

I give The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer 5/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

Mother Russia Review by Eugene Alejandro

Jeff McComsey’s Mother Russia is a zombie graphic novel that takes place in an alternate time in history (the 1940s) in which Soviet Russia has become victim to the Zombie apocalypse (there really isn’t an explanation for it either). The story mostly focuses on a female sniper in Russia who is trying to survive from the zombies, and she ends up rescuing a little boy only to also be saved by a former German soldier along with his pet German Shepard dog.

As far as zombie survival stories go, Mother Russia surely is an entertaining read with interesting characters and a nice concept. I most certainly recommend getting the graphic novel collection as after the main story ends, the collected edition includes bonus stories giving origins to all the main characters. They are all written by Jeff McComsey, but each one is illustrated by a different artist.

Speaking of the artwork, not only did Jeff McComsey create and write Mother Russia, he also drew it as well. His artwork in the interior pages are in black and white, and it is decent to look at, and fits the tone of the story very well. The bonus stories (like I said earlier in this review) are each illustrated by different artists. While each artist has a different style of penciling and inking, each one works for the respective stories they worked on, and doesn’t really distract from the fact that they are each a huge contrast to the main story’s art.

The only nitpick I have with Mother Russia is the ending. I won’t spoil how the ending goes, but I will warn that is does give the reader a “really? That quick?” vibe. It wasn’t a terrible ending, but I felt it could’ve been better.

While Mother Russia may not be something new, ground breaking, and mind blowing, it’s certainly a good enough read if you are someone who enjoys zombies and horror.

I give Mother Russia Two Thumbs Up, and 4/5 Stars.

Methaphase Review by Eugene Alejandro

Methaphase is about a young boy named Ollie who is the son of a famous superhero named Sentinel. Ollie wants to be a superhero just like his father, but Ollie’s father is worried and doesn’t feel like he should because Ollie was born with Down Syndrome (meaning that Sentinel is only looking our for Ollie with good intentions). I should clarify that there is much more to the plot of Methaphase than what I just said, but I feel that saying more would just ultimately ruin anyone else’s chance of wanting to buy and read it, so I’ll just say the basic summary of it for this review.

There exists a message in Methaphase which is that no matter what condition you have, you can always achieve the best at what you wanna be, and that message is handled very well in the story. Methaphase’s writing is done very well, and story moves at a quick but solid pace. I should inform the people who are reading this review that Methaphase is only 82 pages long, but despite the short page count, the story is still a very good one thanks to the strong and powerful message that it carries.

The pencils, inks, and colors in Methaphase are all very good. Each character is designed very well, the inking helps the art look clear and easy to see, and the coloring does a fantastic job and bringing the artwork to life. Before I forget now that I’ve just thought about it, the lettering on Methaphase is done by none other than Alterna Comics owner and founder; Peter Simeti, who turns out a very solid job as far as the lettering is concerned as all the words are very easy to see.

While I don’t have anything negative to say and nitpick about Metaphase, I should inform people that this is not a single story. Meaning that there is a strong chance of a sequel happening (I won’t go into the specifics of that as you would have the read it yourself to know).

In conclusion, Methaphase is a well-made graphic novel in the superhero genre that I can totally recommend purchasing as a means to giving it a read.

I give Methaphase 4/5 Stars, and Two Thumbs Up.

Horror in the West Review by Eugene Alejandro

Disclaimer: This review is a very short one. I normally try to have my reviews be long, but this one is an exception. I hope everyone is okay with that.

Horror in the West a western graphic novel anthology from Alterna Comics that contains 11 stories each by different creative teams. These stories include Star Calf, Under The Mountain, The Devil’s Promenade, Lawson, Brother’s Keeper, The Hunters, Pinkerton Express, Sacred Heart Of Hell, The Amulet, El Tigre, and Captured in a Flash.

Normally, I don’t read a lot of anthologies, so I tend to not be to knowledgeable of how they are suppose to be structured. With that said, I found Horror in the West to be average at best.

While each story is separate from one another, the one thing they all have in common is that their artwork is black in white. As far the art goes, some stories looked fine, while others looked a bit bad as far the artwork is concerned.

Each stories did have very good premises, but because of how short they are, I couldn’t really get invested into them. If the stories had been longer, than I would’ve gotten to appreciate them for.

For what Horror in the West is, it’s an interesting experiment in trying to combine horror with western (specially as an anthology with each story made by different teams), but in the end, it didn’t really leave much of an impact for me. I DID NOT hate it, but I’m glad to have at least read it just because I was curious.

I give Horror in the West 3/5 Stars.

Empire of the Wolf Review by Eugene Alejandro

In case you couldn’t already tell by the cover art, Empire of the Wolf is set during the times of ancient Rome, but adds a supernatural element to this story by including Werewolves in it. The reason for why Werewolves exist in this story is actually very fascinating as it even goes as far as to tie it into Roman mythology, but for the sake of this review, I will try to avoid spoiling any further details about it.

What works very well about Empire of the Wolf is that with the exception of the Werewolves and Roman Mythology aspects of it, the story is surprisingly historically accurate how and what went on during the times of Ancient Rome. Another part of Emipre of the Wolf that surprised me was the fact that its very story driven, and not just a Werewolves in Ancient Rome kind of plot. All the main characters have a decent amount of depth put into them, and there is a very good explanation for Werewolves to be in this story.

Now the biggest nitpick that I have to say about Empire of the Wolf however, is the artwork. The artwork isn’t necessarily awful, but it just didn’t fit with the story’s tone to me. Also, some parts of the art just looked odd (some of the dogs looked like black sheep with canine teeth, and one character looked like he belonged in Spawn instead of this). As far as the coloring goes though, the colors were great, and they certainly worked for the story.

Another Nitpick that I have with Empire of the Wolf is that the way it ended felt way too rushed in my opinion. I really wished more time was given to build up the ending as opposed to it just trying to get itself over with. But for what it was, it was okay. I just wanted it to be better that’s all.

Empire of the Wolf may not be something Award worthy, but it’s still a decent read none of the less. If you are interested in it, please check it out.

I give Empire of the Wolf 3/5 Stars.