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©2018 by Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti. 

  • Matt Ligeti

R:IL PERSONA


Writer: The Starlight City Project Art: JM Valenzuela for SKILL3 Studio Publisher: Starlight City Entertainment


WHAT IS IT?

Pronounced “Are il Per-SO-nah." It's an anime/manga-inspired cyberpunk mystery loaded with action, violence and fantastical sci-fi powers.

It's kind of like taking the aesthetic of the character, Zer0, from Borderlands 2, putting a normal guy in the suit, and placing the whole thing in a space opera setting.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

Have you ever had that moment where you wake up with no memory of who you are or where you've been, there's a corpse in front of you (presumably someone you assassinated), and now, you have to fight your way out of some kind of facility using strange, new powers you didn't even know you had?

Sure, we've all had an experience like that, but this one makes for one solid comic.

Our protagonist, Rade, wakes up to the aftermath of a battle and the aforementioned assassination, not knowing what happened. He's lost his memory, but there's no time to recover it before he's forced to defend himself. Luckily, another assassin, someone who seems like the closest thing to a friend, shows up to help. Rade, along with his powerful friend, has to fight his way through waves of soldiers if he ever wants to escape and find out more about his past and what his future holds.

WHAT WORKS?

  • If you read KNIGHT: The Wandering Stars, this story takes place in the same universe, but at a different time period

  • The world is immense, built by someone with a grand vision, and it gives plenty of breathing room for epic storytelling in the future

  • Similarly to KNIGHT: TWS, I loved the classification of each person and their skills; it makes me want this to be a playable RPG

  • It's very clear that there's much more to the story after this first part, and this is just the beginning!

  • The fight scenes are remarkably rendered by JM Valenzuela and the team at Skill3 Studio, and I really love their use of sound effects, too (see an example of all of this below)

  • The page layouts themselves are dynamic, but well-balanced -- they're not vanilla, but no so crazy that you can't figure out what panel to read next

  • I love how much it feels grounded in the kind of action anime I loved growing up

  • The extra content and backmatter here is fantastic and feels based in old school comic book trading cards, showing stats and extra information

WHAT DOESN'T WORK?

  • Because the story's just starting out, we don't really get villains so much as very temporary antagonists -- I'd be interested to see who the memorable "Big Bad" of the story is

  • The book definitely earns its mature rating, with gore, brutal and visceral violence, cursing, sexual references...the works, so it may not be best for young readers

  • This title feels more "traditionally masculine" than KNIGHT: TWS did -- some folks may feel turned off by Rade's comments on his partner's figure, for example

  • Rumor has it this is a point where we might expect to see character growth in future issues

  • Amnesia may be overused, but it does help set up a potentially really cool mystery and reveal later on that will hopefully dive deeper into the mention of the "Persona" at the beginning of the book

  • The bolded words in the word bubbles give the dialogue a slightly cheesy feel; I think simply choosing a different word to bold could make it feel more organic (see image below for an example), but that's kind of nitpicky

  • Without color or other visual cues, it can get confusing trying to decipher who the narrator is at any given time

  • I don't personally miss the color, but seeing the pages that do have it makes me wish it were there throughout the book's entirety


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

If you're looking for an anime/manga-influenced, action-packed sci-fi comic that takes place within an expansive universe, this is a great choice by a creative team who really knows how to make a darn good comic.

WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Valérian and Laureline by Pierre Christian & Jean-Claude Mézières

  • Lazarus, Vol. 1 by Greg Rucka & Michael Lark

  • Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

If you like the art:

  • R:ILPERSONA #3 by The Starlight City Project & JM Valenzuela

  • KNIGHT: The Wandering Stars #0 by The Starlight City Project & Skill3 Studio

  • Wayward, Vol. 1 by Jim Zub & Steve Cummings

ABOUT THE CREATORS

The Starlight City Project – Writer

  • New Face: He started self-publishing his comics 5 years ago

  • Moniker: His real name is Shaun Barrow

  • Is a huge fan of, and greatly influenced by, manga & anime

JM Valenzuela – Illustrator

  • For someone with no small amount of talent, I couldn't find much out about JM Valenzuela

  • Seems like they prefer to work in a more manga-influenced style with their art

Ludwig Sacramento – Colorist

  • Dream Team: Also works with The Starlight City Project on R:ILPERSONA (which takes place in the same universe as KNIGHTS: The Wandering Stars, but during a different time)

  • Multitalented: Also works in game design

Vocapanda – Letterer

  • Dream Team: Also works with The Starlight City Project on R:ILPERSONA (which takes place in the same universe as KNIGHTS: The Wandering Stars, but during a different time)

  • Is more famous for being an anime YouTube cover singer

HOW DO I BUY IT?

Click one of these:

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Starlight City Entertainment characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Starlight City Entertainment or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#MidweekMadness #Indie #Selfpublished #TheStarlightCityProject #Sacramento #Vocapanda #SciFi #Manga #Anime #DreamTeam #Multitalented #Moniker #NewFace #StarlightCityEntertainment #RILPERSONA #Valenzuela

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