Writing/Art/Lettering by J.M. DeSantis
Published by Rosarium Publishing
I enjoy reading stories from independent companies because they can take risks with stories. For the average reader it might be a dangerous investment and this idea probably explains why many people do not support indie print. Personally, I enjoy traveling to new places with stories that might be unfamiliar with me. Even if the story isn't as good as I expect it to be, usually the time and place is enough for me to continue to read said comic. The best part is that despite what people might say, there are plenty of stories that will be new to us that need to be told.
Chadhiyana is one of those stories. I will admit the first several pages, I was completely confused as to what was going on. I was about to put it down because there was no dialogue to go along with the artwork. I realized I had to be patient. As soon as the dialogue came in, J.M. DeSantis was able to flesh out the story and give the reader enough information to explain the first half of the book.
DeSantis did a wonderful job keeping the tension during the dialogue. There was a sense of urgency between the characters that will keep the reader engaged. At the end of the story, everything was able to be put together. It is difficult to explain a story in an unfamiliar world in 35 pages. DeSantis did a great job of this. The story centers around a small group of mystics named the Tal-Ifatiir. They travel the world combating users of evil magic.
The artwork is amazing. I love how DeSantis uses the eyes to express the emotions of the characters. I really enjoy the costumes. It borrows from many cultures and makes the members of Tal-Ifatiir look both scholarly and warrior like. In the first half of the story, the members of Tal-Ifatiir fight with weapons. In the second half, there is a battle of wits. DeSantis begins the story with fast moving combat. In the later half, DeSantis slows it down and we see the Tal-Ifatiir spar verbally with a village elder who they are trying to help and later between themselves. There is inner turmoil within the Tal-Ifatiir due to a disagreement of ideologies and purpose. In the first issue, the reason is vague but the argument gets personal until the protagonist is discussed after a mission debrief.
Overall, the story draws you in and keeps you hooked. The best part is that the protagonist Chadhiyana isn't revealed until the end of the story even though she is introduced in the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed how this was fleshed out. She is not discussed by her fellow Tal-Ifatiir until the end. As she is described by one of her team members, the reader will recall her actions from the beginning of the story. DeSantis provides just enough information to take away the mystery. I enjoy this world of Chadhiyana and the Tal-Ifatiir. While the first issue is a small glimpse of that world, what has already been revealed is just enough for the reader to pick up the subsequent issues.