“Fairy, thou speak’st aright;
I am that merry wanderer of the night.”
-Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
The Iron King is an exciting new series from Bluewater Comics, written by Julie Kagawa (author of the YA novel on which the comic is based) and Sara Gundell, and illustrated by Lidia Chan. The concept sparkles with fun and promise, as the authors have chosen to enlist the fairy entourage from one of the most beloved Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Oberon are here, as well as our darling Puck, and who knows what other characters will put in an appearance in future episodes? I myself am hoping for Nick Bottom, in all his ass-inine glory.
Issue #1 provides us with the back story. We meet Megan Chase, an ordinary teenage girl, and learn that her father mysteriously disappeared when she was a child. She now lives with her mother and much younger step-brother, and seems to have the standard adolescent trials and tribulations… until today, that is, her sixteenth birthday, when the people around her begin to behave strangely. She comes home from school to find her mother unconscious and brother behaving like Chucky from Child’s Play. Her best friend, who we learn is actually Robin Goodfellow (Puck), explains that the real Ethan has been kidnapped and replaced by a changeling, and leads her into the land of the færy folk to rescue her brother.
The story is well-constructed with a good mix of written detail and implied action from the illustrations, and has a solid, interesting foundation for future installations. The characters will need more development if they are to hold our interest, but it is still early in the series yet. In particular, although he does jump out from behind a bush to scare Megan, Puck will need to get a whole lot more puckish for my taste. The manga-inspired artwork is quite gorgeous, and applies a particular technique that I find intriguing.
Just as in manga, artist Lidia Chan sometimes uses a reduced level of detail, particularly in the characters’ faces, to connote a sense of high emotion or action; the blankness of the features reflecting the void of the agitated mental state. The technique works, and works well. Between the skill of the artwork and the story craft, The Iron King #1 is a very good start to what will hopefully continue to be a great series. [subscribe2]