Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Review - Portal Bound #1 (@AspenComics)


"Technically the portal isn't magic--"

It may not be well-known or proven, but there's a good chance that Earth is tied to other planets via some sort of direct link. Those links have yet to be discovered, but chances are if (when?) they are it'll be made clear that there's a lot going out there that we have no clue about. In Portal Bound #1 from Aspen Comics there's a war going down on one of the planets tied to Earth and they need Earth's help. The issue is written by Mark Roslan and Gabe Carrasco, illustrated by Alex Arizmendi, colored by Wes Hartman and lettered by Zen.

The warrior world of Havos is in peril! The megalomaniac Emperor Atilus, and his bio-mechanical beasts known as the Fymiera are hell bent on a plot that spells doom for their parallel world, Earth! Enter: Sybil, a soldier princess who has come to Earth seeking aid from the only person on the planet who can help her take down the Emperor: 17-year old high school student, Elias Rivera. Teamed up with the brilliant scientist, Riley, and the quick-witted Brett, in order to save both worlds, Elias and Sybil will have to fight as one... literally.

Earth is typically at the center of a lot of sci-fi battles and the duo of Roslan and Carrasco hew pretty closely to that conceit in Portal Bound #1. They twist the premise just slightly though by requiring that a character from Earth and the other world in question rely on each other to survive; this reliance on survival is a lot more of a commitment than a lot of other similar instances though. The first issue spends pretty much equal amounts of time on the worlds of Havos and Earth as Roslan and Carrasco ensure the reader has a good grasp of the crux of the story. The dialogue is a lot headier on the Havos side of things, which makes sense considering that seems to be where all the discord is. By the end of the issue though, the writers clearly establish the direction for the antagonist of the series and given the protagonists the motivation they need to figure things out as well.

The artwork bu Arizmendi is extremely lighthearted and appropriately lightens the mood of the story. Considering the stakes involved (read Earth) the artwork could easily have been a lot grittier, but instead Arizmendi illustrates the characters in an almost cartoonish way. Sybil and Elias bear some resemblance to one another and their team-up so to speak makes sense visually. The panels are very cleanly organized with Arizmendi keeping the action tidy on the page as he attempts to corral the first battle between the two factions. Hartman's colors further embellish the airiness of the artwork, imbuing the book with bright, bold colors throughout the issue.

Portal Bound #1 is very much a fantasy, sci-fi story that doesn't tread new ground, but does feel new in some ways. Sybil and Elias need one another to save both their worlds and the two coming together will likely result in more revelations. The script by Roslan and Carrasco is fluid and fast-paced, hitting the right story notes to get things moving in the direction it wants to go. Arizmendi's artwork is light and adds the right comedic touch to an otherwise dramatic story. Portal Bound #1 should be a fun ride as it unfolds and the main characters learn more about one another.

Portal Bound #1 is available now.

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