Writer: Ram V Art: Devmalya Pramanik
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
An apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic tale of the remnants of humanity and the only city still capable of sheltering humanity. But the city may have a mind of its own...
Imagine the civilization in Blade Runner collapsed, leaving only a Mad Max/Maze Runner hybrid in its place. It also feels a lot like Westworld in its scope, mystery and contrast of barren wasteland with technological wonder.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A man, Jack Kryznan, is looking to enter the city of Paradiso. A city where the streets don’t always lead you to the same place each time you take them. A city that seems to be able to think and act on its own. Jack has a past. One that he doesn’t remember. One that put a technological wonder into his hands. And one that may give him a special relationship to Paradiso...or at least the AI that lies nearly dormant in the city’s dark corners. As gangs and factions seek to use him for his ability to breathe new life into once dead technology, others just want to enter Paradiso for their own reasons. Maybe they’re in search of something. Maybe they’re wondering what happened to this once great metropolis. Or maybe they’re just wondering where all of the citizens inside the city and its surrounding areas went. To get those answers, however, they’ll have to survive the others looking to enter the city, as well as the aging, once-deadly guardians, and perhaps even Paradiso herself.
And those are just the immediate dangers.
Ram V's "Big Picture" storytelling is remarkable
His ability to build worlds and weave epic adventures is exceptional, but he's also able to think small and focus on building tension and suspense in scenes with only a couple characters
Dev Pramanik's intensely detailed line art is awe-inspiring, and the colors from Dearbhla Kelly and Alex Sollazzo will leave you spellbound
It feels like every other page turn, there's a breathtaking landscape scene or a brilliant perspective shot -- every page is a delight
Pramanik, Sollazzo & Kelly beautifully capture the chaotic, shifting aspects of the city, which has to be difficult for a medium like comic books
Aditya Bidikar's creative and innovative lettering skills are reminiscent of Todd Klein and positively shine in Paradiso
Making the "Cloud" hyper-technological and having it ruin everything is not only cool as hell, but it also feels like something that could totally happen
Also, having little pockets of sentient fog is such a fascinating and eerie
Everything, from the parts of the city to the people within, serves a function in Paradiso
It's like an organism, and Ram V goes to lengths to ensure we see how much this city is brought to life with these moving parts
Representation of people from different races and cultures is fantastic and surprisingly uncommon for the genre
There's a particularly menacing villain that we've only seen a little bit of, but he looks super cool and super terrifying
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Story-wise, I'm not sure I understand what's going on entirely by the end of the first volume
This could be intentional on Ram V's part
It was challenging for me to tell the different groups or factions or sides apart, but you may not have that same problem
There were a couple times where I wasn't sure exactly what was going on in the panels, like there was too much action in too small a panel, but the team could've been going for a "fog of war" or intentionally confusing perspective for those panels
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
It's a sprawling, epic, post-apocalyptic tale with as many twists and turns as Paradiso itself. If you're a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre or fiction with a focus on technology and mystery, this is the book for you. Plus, have I mentioned how gorgeous the art is?
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
These Savage Shores by Ram V & Sumit Kumar
Isola by Karl Kerschl & Brenden Fletcher
Arcadia by Alex Paknadel & Eric Scott Pfeiffer
If you like the art:
Black Mumba by Ram V & Devmalya Pramanik
East of West by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender & Sean Murphy
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Ram V – Writer
Moniker: His real name is Ram Venkatesan
Outlander: Originally from Mumbai, India, he now lives in London
Is part of a group of London comic book writers and artists called the White Noise Collective
Devmalya Pramanik – Illustrator
Dream Team: Also worked with Ram V on Black Mumba
Outlander: Hails from India
His illustrations tend to be highly detailed (see the above image for an example)
Dearbhla Kelly – Colorist
Multitalented: Also does graphic design, illustration, motion graphics, branding, editorial & commercial work
Would love to color a New Mutants comic
Alex Sollazzo – Colorist
Seems like he left the Paradiso title after the first issue
Outlander: Lives in Australia
Aditya Bidikar – Letterer
Multitalented: Co-hosts a comics podcast with fellow letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, called Letters & Lines
Dream Team: Also worked with Ram V on Black Mumba & These Savage Shores
Sometimes hosts a #LettererJam event on Twitter where letters all show their different approaches to a single page of comic book art
Lizzie Kaye – Editor
Multitalented: Also does editing for Unbound, and writes pieces of her own
Outlander: Lives in London
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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