Saturday, January 6, 2018

Extremity Vol 1

My silence is terrifying perhaps only to me. I've been sick with strep throat which has made speaking intolerable. Well it's a new year anyway and time to get back into written articles and reviews, not just videos. In my down time being ill, I was able to read a bit. Yesterday I got to read the first volume of Extremity, an Image Comics series published with Skybound. I have wanted to read this series for ages and since finishing volume 1, I'm finally almost caught up with the most current issue, #10.

The book is written and illustrated by an illustrator I have been following on Instagram for a very long time named, Daniel Warren Johnson. The book is colored however by Mike Spicer so it does have a very different quality than Johnson's other artwork up on his Instagram account. That being said, I am a really big fan of the pallet used in these comics. There are loads of pinks and soft purples adding whimsy to the horizon of many panels. The beasts of the story are brought to life by pinks and blues. Many of the panels pop with strong, deep reds... the pallet is ANYTHING but boring and I can honestly say I doubt much attention to detail could be made if Johnson had to color the entire book himself on top of everything else.

Extremity follows the stories of two warring clans, the Rotto and the Paznina. The two clans have tumultuous and bloody past and the story is driven by vengeance. Each side believing they must exterminate the other to find peace.

Revenge stories can be horribly run of the mill but you don't get that with Extremity. Although the story did remind me of Naussica and the Valley of the Wind in regards to the setting. It shares the themes of a world corrupted and polluted by warfare and two separate kingdoms at odds with each. It even has the common theme with regards to technology that Naussica has yet Extremity does have it's own flavor. It's boasts in your face gore while touting the moral superiority of ending violence. Essentially, the true path to inner peace is not through vengeance. Sound familiar?

It's quickly possible to figure out why the book is called Extremity. One of our main characters is a young and skilled princess who's lost her prized possession: her hand. She was once a great artist and is punished because of her fathers actions. Her father and clan patriarch has his sights narrowed on revenge. This not being terrible complex however, Johnson throws the reader something that makes the story much more interesting, and that's the fact that its not easily apparent if either clan is in the right OR who started the quarrel. True the Paznina live in the floating sky's above and have committed atrocities against the Hotto, but it's not immediately apparent whether the Hotto are simply rebelling against a tyrannical clan who wishes to rule everyone (or exterminate). Put simply, the both look pretty equally evil and the actions taken by both clan leaders within this book alone will make your tummy squirm. Neither clan is painted in a great light.

Although I have long appreciated Johnson's artwork online, this is the first book I've read which he has written. I have to tell you that I'm hooked. I didn't think I would be. I initially thought "Oh here's a book I'm going to love looking at but will likely be really bored story-wise". I'm delighted to say that my initial concerns were not confirmed. I found the story engaging and extremely well paced. Although this isn't the type of book I'd let children read, it's reasonable that a teen over 15 could read this graphic novel without parental worry (unless you like your kids 100% free of any type of fictional violence in which case, good luck with that). I do plan to create a video review of the most recent issues but hey, that's for a day when I have my voice back!  Extremity issue number 10 is currently available so get reading!  Don't make the mistake I did and wait for the trades because this is a series you're going to need to read monthly! I learned that the hard way!