Breathe is a story about a small girl trying to find the truth about the death of her family in a small village in China set in the late 1800s. The story seems fine at first and actually accelerates quickly due to the 4 issue restriction, but has so many flaws.
For starters, the characters are lifeless, bereft of any personality, and mean nothing to me as the reader. Second, the story feels very generic and the ending of issue 4 is rather predictable and tries to feel like a surprise, but sort of isn’t. The writing is very stiff and void of identity. I got little enjoyment out of this series, and it was surprisingly sitting in my library for a couple of years unread.
Lastly, the art is atrocious, and how was this approved? The characters look like they are drawn by 5-year-olds and colored by a blind person. I understand the art style was going for a minimalist washed-out watercolor vibe, but it fails hard. I know that messy art is also a style, but this is just bad. The characters look deformed and it just felt like a rushed mess. I would avoid this series at all costs.
I honestly have to say that Lexian Chronicles is on Game of the Thrones status. Maybe Game of Thrones Lite. I haven’t been this engrossed in a comic for a long time. The story was perfectly paced and had enough twists that it threw you for a loop. That is so satisfying about comics. The mystery between all the excellent characters just built up into one big crescendo and then a finale of fireworks erupted towards the end. I was satisfied at the end of the comic, despite a small cliffhanger. The story leaves you completely clueless about the big picture until the very end, I was shocked.
This story is about a girl named Reena who is the daughter of the Phoenix Tribe. It starts out with her as a young girl and the first 6 issues build up the plot to the meat of the story. The Phoenix Tribe has had a long-time enemy, the Leopards, for generations. Everything seems fine and dandy up to this point until the leader shows up at their front door. He asks for help and support to help rebuild his tribe in a passively threatening way that leaves Reena’s father no choice but to follow. She is to marry the son of this barbarian or he will raze the entire village to the ground. Her father is able to stall by saying she isn’t of age yet. The dialog going on here is fantastic. I was sucked in and never set the book down. It is so cleverly written and teases constant uneasiness that you get through the whole comic. This Phoenix leader seems like he’s legit — he really does want to mend the broken ties between them. But he says things that just hint at betrayal but you aren’t quite sure.
That is beautiful writing and I loved every bit of it. The characters are really likable and very memorable as well. The tension between the tribes picks up in the back half of the series and everything is really shaky. You can feel it through each panel as things just start going wrong. I can’t reveal too much without spoiling, but let’s say things go terribly for poor Reena. Because of this you grow extremely attached to her towards the end of the series. This cave that she has found with ancient runes also leads to this tension. Throughout the whole series, she keeps going back to reveal more, and then the ending just brings all the loose strings together and ties them up for you. It’s very satisfying and I couldn’t have been happier with it.
The art takes some getting used to. The opaque and saturated art style is a bit weird and the characters are drawn oddly, but the quality is there. The art may not be for everyone, but the story is just amazing and I hope everyone goes out to buy this masterpiece of a comic.
The first Cancertown was just fantastic. It told the slow-spiraling downfall of a terminally ill brain cancer patient who has a disease that makes him think he’s already dead. He then slips into Cancertown — a place full of complicated politics between monsters for who controls the town. The second volume tells the further demise of Vince Morley and the final struggle to get rid of Cancertown or help find another ruler.
You can already tell from the excellent art that Vince is too far gone. His hair is really long, he hasn’t shaved in weeks, it also looks like he hasn’t bathed in a while. A girl from his apartment continues to bug him and slowly falls in love with him. Vince finds out he can now come in and out of Cancertown freely without crossing points. Sarah ends up in an asylum and the doctors are curing her. This is causing disorder in Cancertown and all the players are trying to convince Vince to stay except one — Papercut. She plays a huge role in this series, but there’s a surprise ending and I love it.
There’s a lot of action and fighting in this one because everyone just starts brawling with each other. Vince’s ambassador skills aren’t working so well and everyone has had enough, especially since Piecemaker is gone, no one is there to stop them. What we get here is a great conclusion to a very original dark story, and it goes out with a nice bang. The story is still a bit confusing, and even after it was all said and done I didn’t quite figure some stuff out. Was Vince really diagnosed with a brain tumor or did his disease tell him he has one? There are a few flashbacks to a psychologist’s visit, but I’m not so sure his disease was making him imagine he had it. Or did he have the brain tumor that was causing the disease? It’s never really clear but I guess that’s the point.
Cancertown is an amazing comic series and any horror fan should read it. It’s a deep psychological horror and the good ones rarely come around. Just be prepared for some deep politics and some unanswered questions.