PANTHA, ISSUE #1

Writer: Tom Sniegoski & Jeannine Acheson

Artist: Igor Lima

Publisher: Dynamite

Pantha #1, Cover by Judy Jong, Dynamite

WHAT IS IT?

A supernatural fantasy set in the modern-day.


Think Beauty and the Beast meets Clash of the Titans.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor spoilers)


A group of Russian terrorists hijacks a plane through seemingly supernatural means, praising the glory of a mysterious being named Ta-Nakht. In response, Sekhmet, Egyptian god of war, calls the gods to convene and figure out what is going on and why some of their colleagues have gone missing. To accomplish this task, she sends one of her underlings to collect Maatkar Samira, also known as Pantha, whose trickery caused Sekhmet to curse her long ago with immortality and shifting between woman and panther. Will this be enough to stop these new foes? Is this Pantha’s chance to lose her curse?


WHAT WORKS

  • Sniegoski and Acheson’s writing is well-crafted, explaining Pantha’s backstory as a natural part of the narrative. It’s woven in easily and avoids large exposition dumps.

  • Lima’s lines are thick and clean, ensuring every scene is clear even when there are lots of background details. Each scene feels lively, but uncluttered, because of his technique.

  • The color choices of Augusto set the mood perfectly. Pantha’s backstory is extremely intense and emotional largely due to the starkly contrasting blues and reds he employs.

  • The lettering team of Sienti, Mangual, and Esposito creatively uses colors and nontraditional balloons to expertly convey the tone of the dialogue while blending well with the art style.

  • Some interesting and thought-provoking connections between celebrities and gods are made in the interactions between the different god characters.

  • The facial expressions of multiple characters are notably expressive conveying additional character details absent from the plot and dialogue.

  • Every piece of this comic works in tandem to excellently pace a multifaceted story with lots of characters. Even with lots of events happening simultaneously, readers will find this a smooth read.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • The A cover appears to whitewash an Egyptian character as blonde-haired, and light-skinned and could be offensive to some readers.

  • Most of the pages use similar layouts, and including some different panel shapes or mixing them up more could have heightened the interesting moments better.

  • There’s a brief moment where the lettering appears to connect the narration when switching settings, but it is actually narration for another subplot, causing a small bit of confusion. Having a bit more space between the narration or a slightly different lettering style could have helped this.

  • The summary of Pantha’s backstory on the inside cover felt unnecessary since it was also explained within the story.


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

Pantha #1, Page 2, Interior Art by Igor Lima, Dynamite

This iteration of Pantha brings new life to a veteran character, making her more complex along the way. Never shying away from the cruelty of her past, the story frames her as deserving of her punishment, while also suggesting her curse from Sekhmet may have been too harsh. What results is a multifaceted character that has a dark past, but with a tone that is sympathetic because of how her curse has broken her. The surrounding story also cleverly uses her condition as an important plot point, instead of simply being backstory, making it feel like these events could only happen to her. The writing team tells a story from multiple points of view without being confusing and makes every detail feel important.


Hopping through multiple different locations and timelines meant the art had to be clean and clear, a goal which the team absolutely crushed. Nearly every panel is highly detailed and colorful, but never overwhelms or misdirects the eyes. The intricacies of the art match the story deeply, and the few moments where the lines, colors, or lettering are minimalist heighten the emotion intensely. Every part of this book feels like a happy marriage.


For those unfamiliar with Pantha, this is an excellent starting point and those who appreciate multifaceted stories and characters will also love this book.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land by Mike Mignola & Thomas Sniegoski

  • Vampiverse by Thomas Sniegoski, Jeannine Acheson, & Daniel Maine

  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith


If you like the art:

  • Green Lantern Corps by Van Jensen & Igor Lima

  • Legenderry Red Sonja by Marc Andreyko & Igor Lima

  • Suicide Jockeys by Ryland Grant & Davi Leon Dias


ABOUT THE CREATORS

Thomas E. Sniegoski (@tomsniegoski) – Writer

  • Sniegoski is a novelist having penned over two dozen books including Fallen which was adapted into a trilogy of films for ABC Family.

  • He wrote the original Vengeance of Vampirella in 1994 and returned to the series 15 years later for the character’s 50th anniversary.

  • Ever the collaborator, Sniegoski has co-written Young Hellboy with Mike Mignola and Bone: Tall Tales with Jeff Smith.


Jeannine Acheson (@jsuretteacheson) – Writer

  • Acheson made her comics debut on the Vampirella: Valentine’s Day Special released in February 2021.

  • She and Sniegoski went to high school together over 40 years ago and reconnected when Jeannine invited Tom to speak to her class.

  • Her favorite comic from the big two publishers is Batman.


Igor Lima – Artist

  • Lima is a budding talent and has drawn multiple Dynamite titles (Battlestar Galactica, Red Sonja) as well as work for DC (Green Lantern Corps) and IDW.

  • Along with Cullen Bunn, he created the Futures End edition of Sinestro for DC.


Adriano Augusto (@adrianocolorist) – Colorist

  • Mainly in the indie sphere, Augusto has colored books for Dynamite (Red Sonja, Green Hornet, Vampirella), and AfterShock as well as multiple covers from Zenescope Entertainment.

  • He is a part of the creative team behind New York-based independent publisher, Blackbox comics.

  • Augusto hails from Brazil.


Dezi Sienti (@dezicnt) – Letterer

  • Sienti is a rising talent, having lettered multiple books for DC, IDW, and Dynamite comics.

  • In addition, she is also a multitalented artist doing work for DC and IDW as well as illustrations for children’s books, inking, graphic design, and caricatures.

  • Sienti studied illustration and cartooning at the School of Visual Arts.


Carlos M. Mangual (@social_myth) – Letterer

  • Mangual is a rising star and has contributed lettering to multiple publishers including Panicopress (Gunbreed), Aftershock (Scout's Honor & Search For Hu), and DC (Nightwing & Batman & Robin).

  • He has also written and illustrated A Self Portrait Comic which is an autobiographical romantic comedy.

  • Mangual began to take comics as a career more seriously after viewing the 1989 Batman film.


Taylor Esposito (@TaylorEspo) – Letterer

  • Esposito has done a variety of comic-related design jobs, and quite a few graphic design jobs, all of which can be found on his website.

  • He has worked on books for DC, Dynamite, Dark Horse, and now Vault Comics.

  • He is also a second-degree black belt in Koei-Kan Karate-Do.


HOW DO I BUY IT?


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 Pantha characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Dynamite or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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