Review: Legend of Azure #1

Remember my review of G: Honor and Curse? Of course you don't. It didn't even break 50 views, because I reviewed a book with a title like G: Honor and Curse. In any case, the gist of my take was the book was a decently competent indie run-through of extremely generic samurai/ninja comic cliches. There wasn't one original beat in the whole thing, but it wasn't annoying or too blatantly amateurish in its execution so I didn't feel justified in trashing it despite it not being interesting or useful. I bring it up because Legend of Azure is exactly that again, only for adventure fantasy. Every line is rote and predictable, it lacks personality, and it has no new ideas. However, it never tested my patience, and boy is that hard to come by this year in comics. Legend Of Azure#1 Legacy-1A father armed with a mystic blade with a generational connection to his bloodline sacrifices himself to protect his family by slaying an evil magically empowered dictator. Years later, his family's name is tarnished by this event, his sons considered traitors by the citizens of the land, but the reappearance of the legendary Sapphire Blade may give the youngest male in the family a chance to be a hero and reclaim his family's honor.

That generic enough for you? Believe me though, it doesn't read terribly. The writer (who also does double duty as the artist) keeps the story unfolding at an appropriate pace, mostly exposition, but not too terribly burdened by ponderous library's of invented words or irrelevant history. The book gives you little to work with in terms of why we should feel engaged by our protagonist's somewhat limited ambitions of herodom, but there's always issue two.

A noticeable problem the book has with being engaging is the art. Done in a clean edged digital photopaint style, with designs best described as being vaguely video game like, the art is mostly clean, but lacks sophistication it needs for proper storytelling. Color is a primary concern. While bright and easy to see, the art doesn't match figures to environments well, leaving things like skin tone the same general shade of orange regardless of whether the character is in a brightly lit field, in a dark castle, or the fireside of a small cabin. There are a handful of good looking panels, and the style, while unrefined, does look like it could develop into something appealing, but the colorwork is not ready for storytelling and hobbles the book's professional qualities.

I can't recommend it, but I can't condemn it. Alas, that feels like the best review I give a lot of indies, but such is the creator owned market. There are far worse comics out there, however, and while the story doesn't show creative promise, it doesn't mean it couldn't develop over time into something more original rather than so blatantly derivative. Still, you'd have a hard time bringing me back. Fantasy without a hook in the elevator pitch is about as exciting as the self published Batman/Punisher clones or horror anthologies that make up a bulk of the creator owned field at convention season. Making comics can be fun, but if it can't stand out then the comic will remain fun for one person alone, the person who wrote it.

[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Legend of Azure #1
Writer/Artist: Mason Easley
Publisher: Legacy Rising
Price: $3.99
Format: Bi-Monthly