Review - Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 1: The Resistance

Could you imagine if all life was of the machine nature? A world where anything organic must be turned into a machine version by choice or forced into conversion and losing one's identity. I was given the chance to read a new graphic novel from Septagon Studios named Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 1: The Resistance, which depicts such a world in a steampunk mechanical setting.

This graphic novel was created by writer Lara Fuentes and artist Patricio Clarey, who bring a world to life that's full of some vivid imagery that has to be some of the most fantastic artwork I've seen in a graphic novel. All manner of detail and color is done to a fine line that makes the story that much more impactful.

In this first issue the focuse is on two people: Alix and Baltimo. The two are on the destiny train without a destiny. They're progressing in their full mechanization process, but still holding out. This sets them up to get off the train and take destiny into their own hands without a clear sign from the gods. These gods influence certain characteristics in the characters.

Speaking of the gods, the world that Alix and Baltimo live in is one filled with fanatical devotion for the gods. This devotion is shown through completing the mechanization process, the ultimate test for a person to do in the eyes of the gods. This brings a religious tone to the comic, as there is are light and shadow gods that created the world around the pair.

Fuentes definitely hits on some big issues in regards to religion, at least in my opinion, but they doesn’t villify it or anything like that. Instead, it's used to present a story that could be seen as a metaphor, like an authoritative government or a cult. Any body who use knowledge of something and strong will to control others. Make them believe that their way is the way beings above want life to be and force it on those who rely on higher ups to survive.

Clarey's art is some of the best artwork I've seen in a graphic novel. The city that these two find themselves in is full of wonders and sights the likes of which have never before been seen. It feels imperial and clocklike in a sense (cue the steampunk), because of the mechanical nature of the civilization. The city is a strak contrast when compared to the outlying lands they eventually get to that are more open with farmland, mountains and woods. The art gives the feeling of two completely different worlds that are still connected somehow.

The story is one that definitely asks you more questions than it gives answers, with this first issue keeping a high level of mystery. You get to see a few of the big players who are pulling the strings and pushing the action, but what drives them is the bigger question. Blind faith in what they believe the gods want or those who feel the message has been distorted and finding the gods is the only way to know.

Is your mind in a pretzel yet? I'm looking forward to the next chapter in this story. If you're looking for an original, fresh, artistic graphic novel, Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 1: The Resistance is one you should check out.