Whenever you discover a new comic, movie or book it’s always a good sign when you try to compare it to something else, whether it be when you describe it to friends or to simply attempt to understand it better. It’s a good sign because it probably means it’s resonating with you and that it’s original. If you don’t immediately see a comparison there’s something special going on and I’ve had that reaction to Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey’s series Autumnlands. The first arc ended a few months ago. The next story arc starts November 11th; is it good?
To learn more about Autumnlands check out our interview with Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey.
Autumnlands #7 (Image Comics)
This issue divides itself between two groups of characters, one delving into the political underpinnings that have made this series feel complex. It’s clear Busiek is getting ready to reveal even more of this robust world in the wizarding aspect of this universe. The other focuses on the results of the explosion that ended the last issue and the characters who’ve survived it.
Why does this comic book matter?
There’s really nothing else like it out there. Not only is it wholly original but the mix of magic, science fiction and talking animals is all quite fantastic. Most (if not all) comics out there that do have talking animals are worlds where they are no humans about. Not so here, which makes one question what we’re actually seeing. Is it the future, another dimension, or even the past? The sky’s the limit and while it’s clear Busiek has a plan it’s exciting to read on and learn more about this robust world.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a good issue for new readers mainly because the major climax has concluded and the pieces are getting in place for the next big storyline. The world might not make a ton of sense, but all the necessary elements are there to understand what is going on. The magic, the religious aspects, and the nature of the Champion are all discussed. Busiek does a great job bringing in new information for new readers and those of us who have been there from the start alike by delving deeper into how magic works. I’m not sure there’s been a better—or more interesting—explanation of magic in quite a while.
As I said, there are basically two storylines going on right now which can be a problem as far as pace or entertainment. It’s hard to divide a 22 page comic sometimes, but here Busiek introduces some compelling cliffhangers to get readers excited for the new direction of the series. The political and wider story of the survivors of the first story arc doesn’t quite reach the peak of the other storyline, but it does show us we’re going to learn a lot more about the bigger world at play.
Meanwhile Benjamin Dewey continues to craft some stunning pages with the art. Backgrounds continue to look lush and realistic, and the animals’ reactions are just as emotional and understandable. There are some great layouts too and good dramatic storytelling throughout. Take for instance one panel that casts a few characters in silhouette in the foreground as a domineering character stands before them. It gives a great dramatic juxtaposition between the characters showcasing their lack of power, but also looks great.
A double page spread is also gloriously drawn which heightens the intensity of the scene and the mysteriousness of this amazing world. Is what we’re seeing even real? And what is the deal with the new lands being transversed? The art goes a long way in making it feel more real and lived in.
It can’t be perfect can it?
One of the storylines doesn’t go too far to indicate where it’s going as I stated above. You get a sense of where it’s going and what it will do—especially with the power this character imbues on the characters—but so far it really only shows the tip of the iceberg instead of moving things forward faster than one would want to see where we’re going.
This page is pretty gorgeous.
Is It Good?
Exciting, surprising and dramatic, you’ll enter this magic world and never want to leave. With such vivid art, it’s a wild ride that encapsulates the wonderment of our childhood we all wish to relive.