REVIEW: ICARUS RISING #1

Flies really close to the Sun…
and keeps on rising

ICARUS RISING #1
Papercrunch Publishing | 32pg full color
Story: Frank Sikalas
Artist: Aly Faye

 

I have a confession to make.

I love all comics. I’m a consumer, and my weekly pull list consists of many titles from the ‘big 2’ and various others. I support Aussie comics because not only are they a showcase of top tier talent, it’s also obviously a good idea to support the local industry. For the most part, locally produced comics are lacking quality. I love the punk rock style of indie comics, and this is usually reflected in the physical creation of them. Low budget and local usually equals crummy production. With that in mind, when I received my review copy of Icarus Rising, I was confused and surprised! The quality of the book meant it should have a big old Image or Boom logo on the cover. Papercrunch have done an exquisite job on this one, you can physically feel the quality. It feels glossy and durable, but not overdone. The presentation is triple A, and would not look out of place on my weekly pull list.

Icarus Rising takes familiar characters, and places them in an unfamiliar story. Speaking earlier of my bondage to ‘conventional comics; Icarus Rising could very well be a Justice League story. The quality of the book is just that good. I went into this book blind, and first impressions last. I had a blast reading it.

Having said that, if you are looking for something off the beaten path, this may not be for you. That’s the big paradox with this one – it is familiar, hits all the right notes, but it may be a bit too familiar. It’s the first book I’ve reviewed that sits firmly on the border of eclectic and predictable. We can discuss comic book reader elitism another time. For now, I’ll just enjoy this book.

Writer Frank Sikalas shows his knowledge of Greek history and mythology, while also crafting a compelling tale that regular reader of JL or Wonder Woman would find agreeable. There is a good mystery to be found, characters we are somewhat acquainted with, and a nice spin on the classic story of Icarus and Daedalus. It has modern sensibilities while still remaining steeped in mythology. The blurb on the back of the issue paints Sikalas in a learned, almost professor-ish light. The story, however, is just good old storytelling. The final panel is a cliffhanger that, well, actually left me hanging. Looks like there is some good action to come, and I look forward to Apollo and Poseidon dispensing knowledge and kicking arse. Looking back, Icarus Rising does have a bit of a Young Adult sense to it. Usually this would turn me off, but in this instance Sikalas’s script and Faye’s beautiful art separates it from YA tropes. I’ll need to see where the story is going before I make up my mind, but so far so good.

I must also give props to letterer and designer Drew Close. The captions are done in an ancient Greek style, and the dialogue flows very organically. I like it, and will be looking out for more work from him. His lettering fits perfectly. It is unnoticeable until it stands out, like the captions or the current-tense onomatopoeia – RUUUUMMMBBLING! That’s something that truly stood out for me. It’s a new, unconventional style, and I appreciated it.

The art by Aly Faye really is next level. Crisp and perfectly coloured, this art is comparable to any of the big names out there. A highlight for me was the colouring changing drastically when there is a flashback. The regular story looks somewhat gloomy with a flat, restrained feel. The flashbacks are coloured to resemble ancient Greek art, and have a classical, renaissance finish to them. It is particularly remarkable because the art style doesn’t change, just the colouring. Aly Faye is a talent that cannot be understated.

It’s tough. I am new to this reviewing gig, and I know I’m meant to find the flaws within everything I look at. I’m meant to critique it, know what I mean?.

With Icarus Rising, it’s hard not to gush. I’m honest in everything I put out there, and can say with sincerity that this book is good, bordering on great. And I’ll just come out and say what I’ve wanted to all along – it has a DC, Wonder Woman, modern gloss to it.

If you love comics, love quality, and you love sustaining local talent, check out Icarus Rising. You owe it to yourself as a consumer of fine art and storytelling, and this book deserves more exposure.

icarusrising.com.au

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About James Cassingham Randall

James Cassingham Randall
James Cassingham Randall lives in Brisbane with his wife and cats. He collaborates with artist Dan Watts, and is currently working on a few short stories for Bipp and Trax: Intergalactic Real Estate. James enjoys whiskey, ice hockey, a good narrative, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

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