I liked The Legend of Harapan: Origin, but I was left wishing I knew a bit more about the world I had just experienced. In a way it serves as a zero issue for the series and so I didn’t expect all of the answers to be given to me, but there were almost too many questions. The story begins with a letter from the author proclaiming the events may or may not be real. It’s a nice attempt at restoring our childlike imagination for what follows. From there we see a talking lion that is king of the land and we venture into familiar Narnia territory. The lion king sends for his messenger that’s a jack rabbit with a pierced ear. The lion says that it’s time to summon their people. The messenger Simeon is against it because they’re humans and mortals… at least that’s what I took from it.
Simeon runs off to deliver a code ring which is a glowing snowflake looking thing. Instead of doing that though he just buries it under a tree and goes gambling instead. No seriously he turns into a human and goes gambling, but not before he takes the form of a different man. When the man comes back to reclaim his stolen watch Simeon tells him that the king sent for him to retrieve a book. They head over to get the book and Simeon attacks the man in the form of a wolverine.
Some kids find the snowflake code ring and everyone transforms into mountain goats as the code spreads to all that need to hear it. They make a long and difficult trip rather than taking the way the king wanted them to take due to Simeon’s betrayal.
Why the betrayal? I have no idea and it seemed like a big deal, but I didn’t have the context for it. Also I’m not sure why the humans changed into animals and if they did then what’s Simeon’s problem with them again since he too switches back and forth? Really I didn’t get what Simeon’s deal was. I could certainly tell that there was a larger story at play, but this particular issue needed more contexts.
Otherwise the actual writing is put together well. The pacing keeps the story moving along and the dialogue is believable. Because of the structure though I can’t really tell who the main characters are or will be and I don’t have a good sense of the king or Simeon.
The art looked a lot like a storybook. It had a strong European influence which made it stand out and be memorable. The line work is all very clean with only a few lines of excess for detail, but otherwise it’s outlined perfectly. The coloring is also a thing of beauty as there is very little shadowing. You don’t realize how many comics are drowned in darkness until you see a comic that’s expertly colored.
I may be a little lost on the story, but it was solid enough that I would check out the next chapter. That and the art was beautiful enough to warrant a second look. I don’t know if it’ll be anything like Narnia or if that’s an unfair comparison just because of the lion, the kingdom and the pending battle, but if it’s done well enough I might not care either. Sometimes an entertaining story only needs to be entertaining. Bring your imagination and check this one out.
Writer: J.T. Campbell Artist: Shua Hendry Publisher: Rama Rama Comics Price: $2.99 Website