Review - Zojaqan #1 (@thevaultcomics)

Coping with a traumatic event is done in a variety of different ways. It's a good bet though that getting stranded in a strange, foreign environment with beings who want to devour you is on top of the list. Vault Comics has it on their list in Zojaqan #1. The issue is written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, illustrated by Nathan Gooden, colored by Vittorio Astone and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Grieving mother Shannon Kind awakens on a primordial world, mysteriously wielding the power to shape its destiny. Will she be this world's savior - or its destroyer?

As Zojaqan #1 unfolds, Kelly and Lanzing affords Shannon Kind plenty of opportunity for introspection as she fights for survival. And that's what makes the book so exhilarating in that it vacillates somewhat between grief and an instinct to survive. The script by Kelly and Lanzing delves into Shannon's past in a way that's extremely emotional and affords the reader the opportunity to learn more about her present situation in a strange new world. What's even more impactful is how Kelly and Lanzing add emotional heft to each and every decision she makes--many of which serve as painful reminders of the life she used to live. And the world of Zojaqan itself is nothing short of sheer imagination, reflecting a primordial creativity on the part of the writers to make it feel grand.

Gooden's illustrations support the book's fantasy aspirations by rendering a very lush, jungle atmosphere. The wildlife that Snannon is forced to contend with is a mix of Alien and dinosaurs, stoking both fear and awe in readers. The facial expressions are extremely stylized as Gooden relies on those to emphasize her responses to a variety of situations and memories. Gooden's style is full of loose linework and rough shading that comes across rather pulpy in a way that works well for the book. The colors by Astone are sufficiently vibrant where appropriate even if the entire book has a washed out feel to it.

The narrative in Zojaqan #1 is grief wrapped in survival. Shannon is a character who has dealt with a devastating loss that came as a result of a society not equipped to handle differences that then thrusts here into a world that she's not equipped to deal with. The script by Kelly and Lanzing is very introspective and delves into some very heady territory as far as how society and individuals interact with one another. Gooden's artwork is truly fantastic and lends the book enough credibility as a tale full of fantasy. Zojaqan #1 is a brilliant first read that successfully mixes sorrow and optimism through Shannon's thoughts and actions.

Zojaqan #1 is available now.