Review - Sonata #1 (@imagecomics)

"We came here seeking paradise."

Any civilization can have difficulties in survival. That survival relies on people working together, but in Sonata #1 from Image Comics that may prove more difficult than expected. The issue is written by David Hine, illustrated by Brian Haberlin, colored by Geirrod Van Dyke and lettered by Francis Takenaga.

The Rans are a peace-loving people, but the Tayans are a race of warriors who seek to colonize and control. The mysterious Sleeping Giants also call this place home, though no one knows if they’re monsters or the gods of legend. And amidst all this, a young woman named Sonata is willing to break all the rules to find her place in this world—and she’s not about to let sleeping gods lie.

Hine takes a very methodical approach to the issue (and story), thanks to the deliberate pacing to establish the characters, universe and stakes. Sonata serves as the narrative point of view as Hines follows her through a quick "tour" of the world that gets the reader up to speed on the players involved before delving into the matter at hand. Hine infuses Sonata with a certain rebellious spirit that certainly isn't unique, but it's balanced very well with her general sense of empathy towards others around her. Hine leverages that empathy into action, from which Hine is able to create yet another avenue for the characters (and reader) to explore in the world of Sonata. The cliffhanger discovery at the end of the issue might be the one that offers a more interesting direction for the series to take.

Haberlin's art is a very illustrative style that gives the book an art book feel. Sonata and the characters all have expressive faces and humanlike qualities while the Lumani are very Jim Henson inspired in their appearance and general demeanour. Haberlin's empty gutters accentuate the clean, organized feel of the panels that keeps things moving. There are some instances where Haberlin overlays characters atop the panels for added effect and emphasis. Van Dyke colors the book on the darker side of things, with most of the characters sporting shadowy appearances that fit with the concept of a planet struggling for survival.

At its core, Sonata #1 is about various tribes seeking to coexist on the same planet with the same shared resources and that attempt to coexist is what leads to the conflict. Sonata is trying to hold everything (and everyone) together, while in the process learning more about the Rans and their plight than she previously knew. Hine's story is well-thought out and on the path to something bigger as things unfold. Haberlin's artwork is a great fit for the book tonally as it captures the essence of the characters well. Sonata #1 is a solid foundation for a new series that lays the groundwork well with plenty of mystery and intrigue.

Sonata #1 is available June 12.