Review – Paradiso #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Ram V
Artwork: Dev Pramanik, Dearbhla Kelly
Release Date: 6th December 2017

As you should already know if you read our interview with its creators last week, Paradiso is a brand new post-apocalyptic science fiction series from Image Comics, set inside a living, breathing city in a world where civilization itself has been ended by an event known only as “The Midnight”. The first issue introduces us to Jack Krzynan, a young man with a mysterious gift, as he tries to gain entry to the titular city for reasons currently known only to himself.

There are a lot of familiar dystopian sci-fi tropes at play here, but writer Ram V manages to blend them together in such a way that the overall package still ends up feeling fresh and exciting. He’s clearly not planning on tipping his hand too early, however, and keeps us guessing throughout the course of this first issue, letting the overall tone – along with a few choice tidbits – draw us deeper and deeper into the story.

However, while Jack is an intriguing enough protagonist, it’s the city itself I found myself wanting to find out more about. The way it’s spoken of in hushed tones, its sinister mechanical guardians and the overall aesthetic of what little of it we’re allowed to see all come together to make it a thoroughly fascinating centrepiece.  And by the end of this first issue, I think I found myself wanting to gain entry to Paradiso City just as much as Jack (although hopefully in a less painful way).

The artwork by Dev Pramanik is fantastic. Restrained when it needs to be, but able to switch to jaw-droppingly epic in the blink of an eye to help hammer home the key storyline beats.  There’s one particular moment late in the issue featuring the aforementioned mechanical guardians which is absolutely stunning in the way it conveys a sense of impact.  There’s also an impressive sense of dystopian decay on display throughout, with the battered and battle-scarred cityscapes providing frequent hints to the horrors of “The Midnight”.

It’s an opening issue that provides a curious contrast, managing to be both understated and emphatic at the same time. The world building and the artwork are both truly sublime, and while the bigger picture is only being hinted at for the time being, there are more than enough storyline hooks being sunk here to ensure that picking up the second issue is practically a foregone conclusion.

In an increasingly bloated science fiction market, it can sometimes be difficult for new titles to stand out from the pack, but with its measured approach, solid world-building and jaw-dropping visuals, Paradiso has managed to do just that. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Rating: 4/5.

If you want to find out more about PARADISO, make sure to check out our interview with Ram V and Dev Pramanik by CLICKING HERE.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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