Overview

The Children of the Phoenix Volume 1

Review

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The Children of the Phoenix Volume 1

Credits

  • Words: Radi Lewis
  • Art: Mark Borromeo & Barry Cervantes
  • Inks: Mark Borromeo & Barry Cervantes
  • Colors: Mark Borromeo & Barry Cervantes
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Chameleon Creations
  • Price: $9.95/$5.95

The demoniac Jin wish to slaughter all humanity, but a few chosen empowered humans—a single family—stand in the way of this genocide.  Again and again, down throughout the ages, the champions of humanity succeed in defeating the monstrosities, but always at the cost of their own lives.  Like a Phoenix from the ashes, though, the children are resurrected and the battle resuscitated, and today, in the present era, the saviors of humanity are only children when the battle begins, unaware of their supernatural heritage.   To make matters worse, an unforeseen betrayal may mark a turning point: a final and absolute victory for the Jin!

The Children of the Phoenix is a graphic novel that reads far better than it looks to at first glance.  Published by newcomer Chameleon Creations, the look of CotP will appeal mostly to fans of webcomics or “comix” comics, a style looser and not as heavily detailed as that of more mainstream books.  The art by Mark Borromeo and Barry Cervantes maintains an “awkward” animation aesthetic, falling somewhere between King of the Hill and Dr. Katz, slender figures with overlarge eyes and somewhat disproportionate parts.  If unaccustomed to such a look, the book takes a few pages to get into, and yet…once into it, the story and, yes, even the art prove not only unique but also extraordinary.

Borromeo and Cervantes unexpectedly excel at the action sequences, the monsters and the dynamic qualities and the very intense and drawn out battles between Jin and empowered human children.  For all the awkwardness of the human figures, the creatures are creepy, vile and vicious, and equally so are the fight scenes, taut and furious and crystal clear in event.  The powers of the children are well rendered, the choreography intuitive and buyable (a rare occurrence for a comic!), and while the quieter scenes tend to overplay the “uplifting” qualities of the tale, and while the artists additionally don’t help to reign in this overstated quality (sappy expressions, almost Golden Age-style posturing in body language), The Children of the Phoenix is an enthralling, forever-escalating action adventure fantasy with an innocence and charm that’s hard to resist.

Writer Radi Lewis deftly portrays the many personalities of CotP’s ensemble cast, and while he’s far from a subtle writer, I found myself involved with the characters’ plight and entirely engaged with the epic struggle between humans and demons.  The dialogue isn’t naturalistic, though Lewis does toss in a few clever, honestly original methods in which to represent random bits of colloquial speech, and what Lewis definitely manages is a passionate, unquestionably heartfelt script.  The heroic children are each given a distinct voice, while sections that delve into distant past battles or those that feature the monstrous Jin manage classic comic book dramatics.

The Children of the Phoenix is a very, very entertaining new book.  It wields a raw art style and a story that has a number of flaws, but the complete package in undeniably strong.  The creators obviously have an epic plan for the series, but 116 pages isn’t a bad beginning!  Demons, werewolves, monsters of all kinds, family betrayal, superpowers, and a story as ambitious as they come: I highly recommend the book for anyone wanting an intense and unconventional fantasy epic!

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For all things The Children of the Phoenix, go to the official website www.thechildrenofthephoenix.com

The 116-page print graphic novel is available for preorder on the website for $9.95, and also a $5.95 downloadable e-version of the book is available right now!

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