Written by Grace Cong
Illustrated by Debroa Lanianese
Colored by Alicia Soria
Lettered by Stephen Kok
Edited by Dan Feuerriegel

Store site HERE.

A 'Fractured Shards' tale.

This was a companion story to the world of Fractured Shards, which I missed out getting shipped to me due to a mix up in addresses. Shoot. Anyway, moving forward this is a story set in a dystopian future where we follow the progress of a young woman and her boyfriend in their rise to society's higher levels.

Been there...

Stories set in large sprawling backdrops are hard to pull off.

Like Ascencia and The Truce, which I reviewed before there's always the phase of trying to convince the reader that this is a real world (or city).

The irony with all three of these titles is that there's almost nothing in the story elements themselves that could only be told in the 'dystopian' genre.

  • We already live in a world where a tiny elite rule the rest of the population.
  • We already have a world where there are warring factions.

I keep wondering why the attraction towards the 'broken future world' that happens with comic book writers so frequently. You really got to move the needle forward way past where we are to have an impact any more. 

At least the story holds up.

That being said Aquila does a decent job of laying out its action and putting together a cohesive story. Annie and Jon are government agents contracted to evict unwanted squatters from a section of the city slated for renovation. A '20 years ago' section title sets this up as the past. Then we skip to a few days ago, the problems of the past have been resolved (or have they?) and Annie (who wants to go by 'Aquila') is now a powerful political figure, along with her partner Jon. There's a fair amount of slickness, and the story was readable if not really that interesting.

The problem is that the titular character is actually a villain in this tale. Aquila isn't structured to take that into account, like Irvine Welsh's Filth or Oscar Wilde's Portrait of Dorian Gray, where you revile in the layers of depravity Annie/Aquila and Jon can descend. A pity.

'meh' artwork

The artwork is a bit subpar in some spots as well. A lot of mailed-in sketchy panels cut the drama out from under itself. A pity since the cover art is so beautiful and detailed. If you want to play in the same sandlot as Moebius or Judge Dredd you'd better come with the goods, and this graphic novel misses by a significant margin.

The story was structurally sound, but again a bit too jokey. Too Archie and Jughead for my tastes. You could tell this creative team wanted to slap together something set in that 'dystopian world' that a lot of comic creators seem drawn to, in hopes of jarring the reader. What happens instead -ironically- is you remove what might make it stand out by following the trend.

Next Tuesday:

Back to the 'Assassin's Creed' style story line of Gage and the Dragon's Tear
this time Part 4!

Tim Larsen

12 Woodwardia Ave

Felton CA 95018