After reviewing the first two chapters of this series I was excited for the creative team when they announced that the first volume of the series was being collected into print. The first issue was previously the only issue that made its way into printed format and I made a big fuss over its print quality being very good. Well the trade has a great paper quality for the interior and while the cover stock is thick it also has some give which is nice in a trade since the covers can crease or dent easily at times. It’s kind of weird at first since it doesn’t appear as thick as it actually is, but it’s a nice surprise. After the first two chapters of the comic the story dives into Noam’s wife and how she is the Leviathan and that her power as one of the 36 is to bring about the end of the world. This storyline is touched upon in the first two issues, but its the focus for the last three chapters. The woman Noam saved in the first two issues Lenore has become very interested in Noam and it creates a bit of a love triangle. I honestly liked this aspect of the story the most as it added a weird human element to the story. Lenore can’t hide the fact that she’s taken back by Noam and at times doesn’t even realize it herself. It’s heart breaking for Noam’s brother who is infatuated with Lenore as well. All the while, Noam could care less since he only has eyes and a heart for his wife.
The story dives into Noam’s past as a member of the military and how he meets his wife Shira. It’s a very cute story and their flashbacks run throughout the issue as we see Shira becoming more and more in tune with the Leviathan. The two of them together look for a way to stop the creature inside of her, but ultimately they run out of time. Noam puts her into a controlled coma to prevent Leviathan from awakening. The problem is that the man who was once the shepherd of the Thirty-Six wants to wake her and use her to remake the world the way he so desires.
There are a lot of intense battles in the story; magical battles between the thirty-six and their different powers to gunplay and finally giant monster battles. This book really kicks it up a notch each time. In another review I talked about how creating a story with a history is a difficult job when you’re not showing all of the details of that history. The Thirty Six gives you a little of both worlds, there is the eluded past between Noam and the previous Shepherd and then the government organization that’s interested in the Thirty-six as well. At best we have vague details about them both, but that’s enough for them to play their part in the story and make the world real enough to believe in.
I don’t go crazy for the art style, but it’s very consistent and dynamic. The battles and gun play moments are solid pieces and give the scene a real sense of intensity. I’m not 100% partial to the character designs and at times Noam’s face varies a bit too much giving him an inconsistent look. The final chapter of the volume is definitely the best as the art captures all of the different elements at play. One thing I will say is that the art is very good about capturing the raw emotion that the characters are experiencing.
As a trade this book reads very well and honestly the chapter breaks showing the issue covers isn’t even needed; it’s that tight of a story. I personally enjoyed the book a lot and reading the first volume from start to finish was a great complete read. You can of course buy the book from the36.net or from online retailers like Amazon, or if you “Like” The Thirty Six on Facebook you’ll be able to follow the updates of the comic shops now carrying the trade so check it out.
Writer: Kristopher White Artist: George Zapata Publisher: Fossil Creek Productions Price: $18.99 Website: the36.net