The official Image Comics synopsis for Paradiso #1:
The Midnight Event forever changed the world. Now, centuries later, Jack Kryznan arrives on the outskirts of Paradiso City, haunted by fragments of childhood memories and in possession of a mysterious device-one with the power to change the destiny of this living breathing metropolis: the people who dwell within, and the guardians who strive for and against it.
Sounds sexy, right? Well it is. It has been awhile since I have read a dystopian story that captured my attention the way Paradiso #1 did. This is writer Ram V’s (Black Mumba, Grafity’s Wall) first endeavor with Image Comics and it looks like he has a surefire hit with Paradiso.
Dave, tell me more!
The issue begins with Jack Kryznan sharing a story of when he was younger, playing with his friends. They would dare each other to venture out into the darkness, while detailing the monsters that loomed in the void. When it was Jack’s turn, he would always run to the tinkerman Yosef’s shack. The other kids would taunt him and even created a song about Jack, nicknaming him Runaway Jack.
Jack’s fears become reality while hiding out in Yosef’s shack, as one of the monsters come looking for a peculiar looking device. Yosef gives it to Jack and tells him to run away, which he manages to do, despite the monster hot on his trail.
Fast forward to the future, Jack shows up at a dive bar in Aquarius Point. His primary focus is getting inside Paradiso. He is willing to trade a Tinkerman’s journal containing schematics, and is willing to share the instructions that he has memorized as well. Surely enough, this will work to gain Jack his entry to Paradiso. But Jack will find out soon that the trip isn’t going to be an easy one.
But Dave, is it good???
Yes, it is damn good! Ram V absolutely kills it in this first issue. A big thing for me when beginning a new series are the characters. For the most part, first issues are introductory, just an appetizer before the main course. Ram does a brilliant job developing Jack. I like his quick little background story, I appreciate that the main narrative gets going in a hurry. There isn’t a lot of history to sit through, I have full confidence whatever we learn about Jack’s past will be as easy to read through as it was in the opening pages of this issue. Paradiso is set in a dystopian world, but it lacks many of the clichés we all have seen too many times and Ram is smart in the ways he uses the technology. Way to grab my attention, Ram.
Devmalya Pramanik’s art also got my attention early as well. The monster introduced in the opening pages, sporting a tie and hat has an incredible look to him. I do hope I see him again. Pramanik breathes life into a dark and grimy world. And we are also treated to subtle looks of Paradiso. Mixed with the colors by Dearbhla Kelly and Alex Sollazzo and Paradiso #1 is a visual treat.
I jumped ship on dystopian stories a couple of years ago, but Ram V and Pramanik have pulled me back in, if just momentarily to go on this journey they have laid out before me. Paradiso is a fun and creative story so far. If you are into dystopian or sci-fi stories, then you are doing yourself an injustice by skipping Paradiso #1. Check it out!
Want to know more about Ram V, Devmalya Pramanik, and Paradiso? Of course you do! Check out my interviewed with them.