I wanted to like A Tale of Shadows more. Ultimately it’s a book with potential, but it’s taking too long to get to the heart of the story. That and if the creators have watched this season of Agent Carter then they’re probably a little bummed about the similarities of a ball of purplish black goo floating in the sky waiting to cause destruction. The actual story itself seems to be a battle between religion and technology in what looks like more of a 18th century world. The technology that’s introduced is far more advanced giving us a mixture of the past and present.
Our main character is bored. He does things and causes trouble because he’s bored. After the religious sect stops a mystery machine from being turned on, he turns it on… and the results are not great. At first it seems like a good thing because of the unlimited power it provides, but the religious sect isn’t having it. They destroy the machine and basically that signals the downfall of the town.
I think the art is the part I struggle with the most. There are times that it’s beautiful. The scenery is wonderful and the coloring is great, but the actual detail on the characters is very poor. There is some improvement from issue one to issue two, but not much. Not enough to really boost the story. The scenes in which it’s just the character’s outline are pretty good and it gives the book a style, but that’s not something it can do the entire time due to their being multiple characters with speaking roles.
The lettering is also a bit strange. In the first issue there’s little notes from the character giving us insight into the story, but it ends up looking like creator notes rather than a clever addition. There’s also a different font used for the dialogue and the rounded letters are angled and it’s hard to read at times.
As for the story. The main character is unlikable because all we know is that he’s bored and that he’s turned on a machine that will eventually kill everyone… kind of making him at least partially at fault. Granted the religious sect broke it and put it out of control, but his boredom was the start of everything. Like the story says, that was the first domino.
There’s not a strong feel for the world. Yeah we get that the religious sect is crazy, but they seem to be the ruling class of the city. It seems like social commentary, but it’s not subtle and actually hammers you over the head. The supporting cast is also incredibly weak. They really don’t support the story in the least bit and feel like convenient plot points waiting to effect the story.
Overall there was potential for this story. The setting and design of the book is actually really good, but the rest of it just isn’t quite there. Worst off all it hasn’t even remotely hooked me on the story. I applaud it for at least not being a superhero story, but there’s a lot of polish needed to release it’s full potential.
A Tale of Shadows Book 1 & 2 Creators: Lyndon White, Paul Clark-Forse, Tyler Wilson Self-Published Price: Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital Website