By Dustin Cabeal
When I read the concept for this graphic novel, I had a feeling I would enjoy it. The concept is that magic is a part of our world and people are given destinies of greatness, a little like a magical girl receiving her calling and having to fight some great evil. Right there you have me because magic girl. The thing is, it’s not the thing that I ended up liking about this book. Instead, it was the complex relationships and diversity of characters.
The story follows Logan, a woman that was once the poster child for a school that helps people with great destinies. After completing her destiny at a young age, she’s been left without a purpose. This is the side effect of completing what you're told is your greatest task at such an early age. She still attends the school and takes normal courses, but it becomes clear that this is due to her not feeling she has anywhere else to go in the world.
She bumps into a woman named Lilith that stands up to a guy hitting on her, and their paths continue to cross until then end up seeing each other romantically. Lilith has a lot of baggage though and is carrying some dark secrets that may trouble for all of humanity or not, this shit’s magic not science.
This is by far Pat Shand’s best writing to date in his career. It’s leaps and bounds better than his monthly work, and it makes a strong argument for why more writers should at least attempt a graphic novel series while writing monthly.
For the most part, all of the characters are LGBT, but instead of that being the focus of the story, it’s handled as a part of who they are as characters. As a straight man, I don’t walk around telling everyone constantly and yet when the big two comic publishers handle LGBT characters, that’s exactly what it reads like for the most part. It’s not a part of their character, it is their character, and it’s a terrible shame. Shand handles it wonderfully in that they’re characters first, not their sexuality. Again, it’s a part of them, it’s brought up in the story, but it’s handled with the utmost respect and care.
The complexity of the relationships and dating is also brilliantly handled. Having watched a lot of romance anime lately, it’s disappointing that there isn’t more romance in comics that doesn’t involve two people being from alternate dimensions and wearing spandex. There’s just too much to go into on a review, but Shand realistically captures dating, the strange timing of life and manages to make all the characters human. When it comes to the relationship aspect, there’s no bad guys, just different perspectives which are often the case in real life.
Manuel Preitano’s artwork brings Destiny, NY to life. The artwork is to die for. It’s all in black & white with grey scale. It would probably be amazing colored, but at the same time, there’s so much beauty to Preitano’s line work that it would be a shame to cover it up. If Shand is the reason the characters have believable voices, then Preitano is the reason they feel real to the reader.
The artwork is very detailed and realistic which makes it feel more grounded in the real world. The facial expressions and the emotions captured on the pages are what makes this story particularly special. Capturing how confused emotionally Logan is at times or showing the heartbreak of numerous characters; it oozes with relatability and realism. It’s disappointing that Preitano won’t be back for the second volume because so much of his artwork is what makes Destiny, NY shine so brightly.
Not only was I pleasantly surprised by this volume, but I wanted to read more upon completing it. I have no idea what twists Shand has in store, but his handling of relationships has given me an itch that common comics can’t seem to scratch. Destiny, NY is about a variety of relationships, so if you like the drama and the messes that come with love, friendship and family, then check it out.
Destiny, NY vol. 1
Writer: Pat Shand
Artist: Manuel Preitano
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Space Between Entertainment Formerly Continuity Entertainment