Writer: Gene Ha / Artist: Gene Ha / Dark Horse Comics

Let me start by saying, this comic is beautiful. The color blends together seamlessly. From moody blues and purples, the dominant colors, to shocks of gold or pink for accents, nothing is out of place. Gene Ha’s use of directional lighting is unbelievable, or rather, eerily believable. In every scene, even the most mundane, all the details are right there.

It feels like I could just walk into this picture...
It feels like I could just walk into this picture…

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The story, unfortunately, lacks that level of detail and suffers because of it.

I’m a practical person, sometimes too practical, I’ll admit. My core of down-to-earth realism is making some parts of this story really hard to embrace because so many of the narrative details are missing. Let’s say, my older sister disappeared for years. One night she turns up asking to be picked up from the local police station. Okay. When I ask her where’s she’s been she gives me some fairy tale about having been out fighting monsters after having gone through a magical door. Double Okay. Maybe she just needs some rest, right? Next morning, she’s still talking crazy and asks me for money? Which I give her?

[quote_simple]I’m not the one.[/quote_simple]

Which is to say that in a story that is supposed to be about Mae, Mae’s motivations are completely unclear. There’s plenty of action, and all of it is wonderfully drawn. We just don’t have any “whys” for the main character. Abbie’s motivation is clear, she thinks she’s defending the family, and as it becomes clear, she actually is doing that.


But why does Mae’s interior monologue remain shrouded? What does she think is going on? She never says, or does anything to tell us. So when the big moment comes and Mae steps through the portal and into the magical realm, I have no idea *why* beyond a set up pretense…and of course because she’s supposed to. It all feels like a rush to get the story through the magic door as quickly as possible. Which is a cheap way to go.

So while the comic itself is visually beautiful and the forces behind all of the secondary characters is clear, the main character feels like an empty space. It is hard to invest in an empty space or be interested in what happens to her. I am curious to see what’s on the other side of the magic door, so I’m still reading to see how Ha spins his tale. But as to Mae herself? *shrug*

5 Shrugs out of 10

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  • L.E.H. Light


    Editor, Writer, Critic, Baker. Outspoken Mother. Lifelong fan of sci fi/fantasy books in all their variety. Knows a lot about very few things. She/Her/They.

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