Written By: Brenden Fletcher/Karl Kerschl
Artist: Karl Kerschl/Msassyk
Lettering By: Aditya Bidikar
Cover by: Karl Kerschl
Published By: Image Comics
If you’ve been searching for a luscious, immersive fantasy comic that truly stands out from the rest in the genre, I don’t think you’ll come closer at the present moment than Isola. The story is simple but worthwhile, and the art is absolutely exquisite. From the appealing pencils to the masterful colors, Isola is truly a visual gem. Reading this book is akin to wandering through the Northern Lights, or at least how I imagine that would be at any rate.
I am, perhaps, a harsh critic when it comes to story, because I feel that many stories were not given enough forethought, organization or, most often, originality. Very few plots in modern comics today impress me, and so I was pleased to read and engage with the story of a cursed tiger-queen and the female soldier that starts as her escort. In this issue, the third in an enchanting series, the two characters are separated and I was delighted to follow both of their paths through the sublime setting and be introduced to a few newcomers, each as interesting as the main figures.
There are plenty of silent moments in this book, which really adds to the atmosphere. A few times I felt that there was actually too much dialogue covering up the art, but what there was is done pretty well. In my own writing, I struggle with creating unique voices for my characters, so I admire how its done so effortlessly throughout.
I love Rook and Olwyn as characters; they are complex, individual and refreshing, which is a remarkable find in three issues so far. The world building is topnotch, too, from what I can gather so far. Distinct personalities populate a diverse environment and even though I want the story to go on for a while, I also can’t wait to see the depiction of Isola, a land of the dead.
There has been a lot of conversation about the influence of Miyazaki on the creators, and I can definitely see that. It’s a great place to draw inspiration from, but Isola is also a book that dances on its own, casting its elegant lights and shadows through a magical dreamscape I wish I could visit and explore. I know the story has been a long time coming, and all I can say is that the time and effort spent on it is obvious and appreciated. Bravo, creators!