Story: Chris Roberson
Art: Christopher Mitten
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Clem Robbins
What They Say:
Panya scours the world in search of the truth behind her visions of an ancient city, the secret of her mysterious powers, and the voice that whispers for her to seek the light. But to find answers, she may first have to venture into the darkness …
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The world in which Mike Mignola has worked for the past few decades has led to a lot of great storytelling and creators working within it. It’s been enjoyable reconnecting with it in the last few years and this new series brings us more with Chris Roberson again handling the writing duties here. Roberson gets to play in a familiar world but shape it in a way that works for this particular universe and that’s got a lot of appeal, especially since it is a much smaller world overall. Christopher Mitten is on board for the artwork and they capture the look and feel of this period really well, especially with some of the openness that we get in this first issue. I really like the character designs and Madsen’s color work on it helps to highlight the raw and rough aspects of the artwork. I’m curious as to how well the hieroglyphics are in the background but I’m not doing any translating work nor would I hold any artist too much to that in general, though my curiosity is certainly there.
With the third of fourth issues, Panya continues her journey well and it’s engaging to see how she travels about and tries to help. This happens right from the start when she encounters a group that’s being accosted by some kind of supernatural snake, but we learn that others are protecting people as well. Namrud and Semi have the skill and knowledge to deal with such things and have been trained since childhood to do so. It’s easily dealt with overall but giving Panya time to spend with them and to learn more of the world and their experiences through them is helpful to broaden her perspective. She’s already quite receptive to seeing and learning what the world has to offer but it’s also good to see more people that are out there doing the right thing instead of just marauding the lands and doing little more than that. And Panya’s tale is one to impress as well which helps as they do take what she says seriously rather than mocking disbelief considering what they’ve seen.
Thankfully, this isn’t them coming together for further journeys as they have their own paths. We get something of a montage sequence to watch as Panya travels from place to place trying to find the city in her dreams. She meets challenges along the way with the creatures of the gods but she also finds a lot of people who are willing to talk and engage with her about things. Not that it helps as most view stories like this as myths from the past or have little time, but each nugget gives her more to work with. So when she finally does reach the city in ruins toward the end and tries to grapple with what she sees, it leaves you wondering just what truths she’ll find her. I love the way that Panya seems to not work from a place of anger or hate but rather curiosity and compassion as she goes through this journey and faces some disturbing things along the way.
Not knowing anything about this character from her past appearances in other works from the 19th century and present-day BPRD, it’s rather freeing to read this because it’s not reliant on that. Instead, it’s a curious journey that does have me interested in what’s to come for her and hoping there are more miniseries from this period ahead because I want to see this journey and explore those other stories. I love the journey montage bit that we get here with the panel layout and the different types of palace she visits but also the things Semi and Namrud reveal and all that their encounter and fight brings to the page. It’s an intriguing story that hasn’t quite clearly set its intent but draws you in quite well with all that it has done so far.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 13th, 2023