Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Passage Creator(s): Mark Rude
Publishers: Jayde World Productions
From: USA
Price: $2.95(US)

Passage is the first edition in what promises to be a long running title. Essentially it is a medieval fantasy tale, not a million miles away in content from the fantasy novels of writers like J.V Jones. It tells of a young girl’s journey towards self discovery and her destiny.

The opening is promising enough as it looks forward to the beginning of the tales climatic event [I think]. It sets the scene with an appropriate sombre narrative tone and frames that depict a vast armoured army tensely awaiting the dawn and commencement of the final battle.

It is effective in the way it establishes tension, largely through the facial expressions of the characters thereby drawing us into that narrative and making us want to read on.

The two pages that follow this prologue are effective as well with their long range establishing shots of Portshia the city where our story proper commences. Seven pages of prologue and setting establishment may seem a little extravagant but as I have already said this comic shows every indication of being a long running title and so a detailed introduction is valid and quite possibly necessary.

My only gripe here is that a full seven pages before we get any dialogue does make this particular introduction seem a little drawn out. Not a problem yet though as the art work in the long range shots is imaginative and effective in helping to create this new world.

The absence of dialogue does become a problem later in the comic though. When Cindra [the heroine of the story] sneaks out of her father’s keep and escapes into the night there is once again a noticeable absence of dialogue. This is a shame because it is a tense and momentous occasion and much of the emotion is lost due to this lack of dialogue. We fail to feel what Cindra is feeling at this point as she disappears in to the dangerous night and therefore the opportunity to empathise with her as a real person is lost. Instead we have a narrative that often repeats what we see in the art work. This repetition is a little frustrating and in places unnecessary.

The end result of this is that I finished reading the comic and felt a little empty, it felt like an opportunity lost. The setting had been established but the story had yet to come to life.

In between the two dialogue-less sequences though we do have 13 pages of character interaction where a range of people are introduced and a number of interesting relationships presented.

All the pieces are there for an intriguing tale but it has yet to explode into life. It will need to do so quickly if it is establish a loyal readership.

Passage is poised at the edge of a cliff and the second edition will reveal whether it is to soar or plummet. In case it does soar it may pay to track down a copy.

In a Word: Muted.

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