I’m one of those hopeless romantics that loves the feel and smell of printed comics. I find that as the digital “revolution” continues that the books I respond to and attach myself to more, are printed comics. This may end up being very apparent by the time I get through all of my Wonder Con reviews as I enjoyed every comic that I picked up. The Thirty-Six is a book I may have seen at a previous con and failed to pick up, for whatever reason I decided to check out the book and ended up talking to the creators for a little bit. It’s funny because there was a man standing there looking at the book longer than I was there and he couldn’t make up his mind about buying it. This review is for that guy; that guy that goes to a comic convention and isn’t sure if he should buy a fucking comic or not. I’m going to steal the first line of the book since it’s the perfect log line, “The mystics say there are 36 people who, in times of need emerge to save us all.” After reading that line, if you’re brain doesn’t fill with ideas and interest then just stop reading. That one line solidified for me that I was going to finish this book with a smile on my face. The opening pages talk of the tragedy of the 36 and the sacrifice they make in order to save us as it shows us an image of a Kraken like creature destroying a ship.
In our modern timeline we find a man named Noam holding a wooden staff knocking on the door of Lenore Jones. He’s there to ask about a police report she filed in which something made of mud appeared in her living room. The appearance of the Golem threw everything around her house and left her very scared. Noam informs her that there were three other similar attacks that ended in the person being killed. He speculates that she’ll be the next victim unless she comes with him. She listens to him after he displays his mystic powers with his cane. He takes her to his brother’s house while he researches Golem’s which should be a lost art form of magic.
Noam’s brother begins showing Lenore around his mansion of a house. After touring around for a while Lenore becomes very curious about Noam and presses Levi (the brother) for answers. He tells her about the 36 and how they each have a power that will help save the world; Lenore asks what Noam’s power is and it turns out his responsibility/power is to protect the other 35. Unfortunately the Golem Noam is researching attacks his brother’s house, trying to capture Lenore.
I really liked the concept of this series; the mixture of religion and super powers was subtle and not rubbed in the readers face at all. In general the storytelling was very strong and had some good character moments. Particularly the interaction between Noam and Lenore was good and it set the stage for the possibility of a romantic interlude, even though Noam claims to be married. There were some elements of the story that seemed forced into the plot. The brother was clearly just there to reveal info about Noam and the 36, but his character was very two-dimensional. Even still I really enjoyed the pacing of the book and thought that it was a good first issue to launch a new series with.
The art has a good look to it; it has a classic comic look to it at times, but is still modernized at other times. In particular the facial expressions of the characters are very strong and give the book a lot of personality that would usually be developed over time with the combination of art and story. Instead you’re treated to a lot of emotions that are never said in words, but rather shown on their faces. The Golem was okay, he wasn’t very stylized and after seeing some pretty damn cool comic book Golem’s I was hoping for a bit more but it worked in the context of the story. You can’t really complain about a character design when it works the way it should.
After chatting with the creators I’m actually going to be able to check out the next two chapters of the story as well and I’m looking forward to reading it. This was a very different and intriguing story with a concept that like I said before, sparked my imagination. You can buy the book for yourself in print at the36.net or you can actually pick it up from Graphicly digitally. This is where my starting paragraph comes back into play as I really enjoyed the printed version of this book; great paper stock and it had that quality ink smell to it. If you don’t know what I mean by that then you should buy it in print. Either way the book is worth checking out; I will have more reviews in the future for you to check out as well so stop back by.
Writer: Kristopher White
Artist: George Zapata
Colorist: Micki Zurcher