"Nevera Tales: Elisa & Aston" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Daniel Bishop
Illustrated by Marek Jarocki
2016, 20 Pages
Welcome to Nevera, a fantasy land with ghouls, zombies, and vampires. King Kuranes rules from his castle in Celephais while his necromancer commands a horde of undead creatures to mine away in the caves below. What they're mining for is anyone's guess. This is just one of many questions within Nevera Tales that are left unanswered.
The comic is told from the point of view of Aston, a vampire thrown into the caves to work for the king. I only know his name because it's on the back of the book. Since it's told from his perspective, it's not actually revealed in the story itself. We don't know how he was captured, however we do know that he's not under the control of the necromancer. He still has free will, but decides to work in the mines for YEARS until he can figure out a way of escape.
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The problem with this is that Aston doesn't seem all that concerned with his freedom. In fact, the events that eventually lead to his escape are not his doing at all. Until then, he is literally starving as his shackles and head mask don’t allow him to even touch a drop of blood. He's a pretty lazy vampire in this case.
Nevera Tales is told more like a picture book than an official comic. There is no dialogue, only narration from Aston. It's shown on the side of the images from artist Marek Jarocki. I've run into this a few times recently and it's frustrating. Comics is a collaborative medium where the text and images work together to tell the story. In this case, the pictures take a back seat because the exposition runs right over them. Additionally, much of the text is redundant, as we see it in the images. You don't have to tell me that Aston's hands are shackled when I literally see that happening on the page.
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Jarocki has an interesting art style with very fine lines, especially with shadows. The forms can be a little loose and I'd be curious as to how they'd look with an experienced inker onboard. Aston's limbs and fingers are long and spindly. It gives him a creepy appearance from the get-go. His mask covers his entire face except for one eye and his hair flows wildly from the back.
Nevera Tales has some good ideas, but it can't get out of its own way. It's a quick read with some cool scenes, however it fails to deliver any sort of meaning. The characters' motivations are unclear, as is their reason for being in the first place. This could be fleshed out a lot more with some establishing background information and character development.