Review – Campisi: The Dragon Incident #1 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: James Patrick
Artist: Marco Locati
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Release Date: 11th August 2021

Sonny Campisi is a well known face in the neighbourhood, always looking out for his neighbours and willing to lend a hand. Campisi is also a fixer for the mob, ensuring that everything runs smoothly in Green Village, and with the annual rib cook-off only days away, Campisi has everything under control. That is until a dragon takes up residence in a local construction site and he has to add another item to his list of things to fix.

Ok, so dragons are real (obviously) and many, many years ago they were betrayed by a vengeful knight who couldn’t let the old wars go. The remaining dragons, kraken, and other mythical creatures that survived the purges and wars are rarely seen, and rarely cause much trouble when they do appear, but this dragon has other plans and as complicated as Sonny Campisi’s life already is, the new resident of the village is going to make things real, real messy.

I have caught absolutely no buzz about this title at all prior to its release, and I’m really surprised by that because it’s really good. Campisi is a mixture of fantasy tale and organised crime thriller, and I really enjoyed the quite understated beginning of this story and the almost nonchalant attitude of everyone towards a giant flying lizard arriving in town. The dragon is almost incidental to what I think looks like a pretty decent crime thriller on its own, and the fantasy aspect of the story just gives the whole thing some extra spice.

I like James Patrick’s writing. It’s warm and funny and tense, and vicious at times, and Sonny Campisi comes across as a character who is inherently capable in any situation. There’s a little bit of a young Henry Hill, and something of Clarence Worley in Sonny Campisi. He’s a gangster but he’s a gangster with a heart and a genuine concern for the neighbourhood he looks after.

Marco Locati’s artwork is delivered in a neo-noir style that works well, making the appearance of the dragon seem that much more fantastical despite the local residents’ apparent disinterest. This style also really works well in reinforcing that kind of Goodfellas vibe for the whole neighbourhood.

For something I’d heard nothing about until my editor sent me the review copy, Campisi has caught me by surprise. It’s a well-written, well-illustrated story that I think is going to garner a lot of fans.

Rating: 3.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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