I am, admittedly, new to this Spera world, and have to admit that I was lost, much like our young heroes seemed to be.
Spera, appears to be about a pair of princesses, Lono and Pira, who wander around the country side eating everything they can, and getting sick on it. Well, okay, that’s not what the story is about, but it sure is what happens in this particular book. Wander with them is Yonder, the most fascinating of the characters, a fire spirit that is sometimes a very large dog that they can ride upon, and sometimes an older, bearded man. And their cat Chobo.
I had to work at understanding who the characters were. Perhaps because this is a volume three and I was not already familiar with the set up, but it took me quite awhile to understand that the fire spirit was both the dog and the man, and that both Lono and Pira were female!
In this book, Yonder is beset by a spell and shrunk down to small fire dog size (without the ability to turn in to a small man, apparently). The group of travellers are off to find a spirit who can restore Yonder. In addition to this longer story, there are a number of shorter “side” quests with this unique group of adventurers.
Josh Tierney is the creator and author behind this series and the artwork is done by a different artist for each comic-book-issue portion of the story. I really appreciate Tierney’s desire to engage multiple artists and to see the effects different artists have on a story, but the idea can certainly backfire if the art is not captivating, as I found to be a problem within this book. At no time did I feel the art was so incredible that the entire book should have been done by that one artist, but there were times I felt the art was a true detriment to the story. Still… kudos for the attempt, and I rather like the idea of supporting this variety of artists.
One thing … you never think much about the lettering in a comic book/graphic novel — until it doesn’t work. There are pages here where the calligraphy gets in the way, making it hard to actually read the story because we’re busy deciphering the words. This shouldn’t happen. Points lost for this.
In some cases, I found the side stories to be more interesting, more captivating than the longer story arc of the book. This might be, in part, because I was finally familiar with the characters.
This is a difficult book to recommend, but at the same time, hard to steer people away from it. I think it might truly be a case of needing to start at the beginning before getting to volume three.
Looking for a good book? Spera is a very unique experience, with unusual fantasy characters and with a different artist on different portions of the story. Try starting with volume one.
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Spera, Volume 3
author: Josh Tierney
artists: Michael Dialynas, Meg Gandy, Cory Godbey, Amei Zhao and Sam Bosma
hardcover, 176 pages