PALADINS, ISSUE #1
Writer: James Kniseley
Artist: House of Imagi
WHAT IS IT?
The first, 80-page (cover to cover) issue in a manga-inspired modern fantasy series.
It definitely feels influenced by magical girl anime, like Sailor Moon, and other similar stories where regular people get extraordinary powers and weapons, like Ronin Warriors. It does feel a bit brighter than those, however.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Trent and his twin brother, Taylor, are in high school. They've inherited the power of the Paladins, and they must use it to fight powerful villains from a world similar to our own.
But they'll need help! There are 10 Paladins in all, and they may have already met one of them. But how can they find the rest? And how can they find out more about their strange, new powers and the daunting task before them?
The world of Paladins is bright and jubilant, a pleasant change from other popular manga stories
James Kniseley has created characters that are lovable and make me want to learn more about them – even the antagonists feel nuanced, like they're antagonists out of necessity rather than evil
Seeing the Paladins named after planets or other characters named after stones or minerals feels very Sailor Moon
Hinting at other paladins existing makes you want to keep reading to find out who they are and what their powers will be
There's a good balance between action and character development
The art from House of Imagi is fun and emotive, often taking liberties with the more realistic style to lean hard on the more creative aspects you might see in anime (for example, a character counts off 3 reasons for something later in the issue, and interacts with the actual numerals in the panel)
I especially love when House of Imagi shows characters as kids – not only does it show their childish reactions to something, but it also is a smart way of showing how long the characters have known each other and further defines their relationship
Word balloon style flourishes are fun and varied
The sound effects are small, handwritten and subtle, but it works well with the art
There are seeds planted early in the issue for a big joke payoff several page slater, and it's great seeing that come to fruition
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
It might be the manga style (I'm no expert in manga) but it seems like there's way too much air in the balloons, and often, dialogue balloon tails aren't there or are too thin to see properly
No interior color, if that bothers you
The brothers seem not even to be that surprised by their new powers or outfits – I would've loved to see a bigger deal made, similar to the small montage for costume changes in magical girl TV shows
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Paladins hits all the best manga and anime buttons for me: powers gifted to normal people, a mysterious evil, future teammates to be discovered along the way...I can't wait to read more!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada
Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
R:ILPERSONA by The Starlight City Project & JM Valenzuela
If you like the art:
Soul Anomaly by Cud-B-Better & House of Imagi
KNIGHT: The Wandering Stars #0 by The Starlight City Project & Skill3 Studio
Wayward, Vol. 1 by Jim Zub & Steve Cummings
ABOUT THE CREATORS
James Kniseley – Writer
Multitalented: Also writes comic book reviews, prose stories and teaches pre-school
Based each arc of Paladins on the 7 Deadly Sins, and many of the characters are named after James and his friends
Inspired heavily by Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, and Tales of Symphonia, Abyss, and Xillia
House of Imagi – Artist
A design studio, potentially out of Indonesia, who often works with artists on comics with a more manga style
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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