Welcome back, everyone! This week I’ll be reviewing Echo Callaway and the Knights of Lionskeep, which is a really cool all-ages fantasy comic drawn in a manga style.
Echo Callaway is a thirteen-year-old girl from the town of Philips, Maine. When her grandfather dies and leaves to her a magic book. Suddenly finding herself, along with her friends Hiro and Sati, transported to the Martian desert, about to be forced into combat against a ten-foot-tall… something.
From that point, we enter a flashback sequence, told by the three main characters in turn. We learn how the three friends met, and how they ended up on Mars.
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know that I have an intense dislike for most manga, and particularly for American- and European-produced manga. But the art style just seems to work in this book. I can’t say exactly what it is, but there’s something unique and cool about Adam Masterman’s art. The coloring is positively gorgeous, and meshes amazingly well with the line-work to create a completely natural-looking whole. There are a handful of problems with perspective throughout this book, but I didn’t find it hard to look past those.
The dialogue is also really, really good and has a human flow to it that other comics often struggle with. There’s not much action in this first chapter, but I didn’t find that to be a problem at all. This chapter does a near-perfect job of setting up the characters and situations.
One critique I have, though it is very minor compared to all the good things about this book, is about the lettering. The size and placement of balloons seems a little odd in some places. I’m not crazy about the font design, but this is, again, a very minor problem.
Even if you don’t generally like all-ages comics, I think you’ll love Echo Callaway. In reading the first chapter, I don’t get the feeling that the book was written (or drawn, for that matter) “down” to any particular age group. It’s a comic that would be just fine for kids to read, but if you think of it as just for kids, I think you’d be doing both the book and yourself a big disservice.
Echo Callaway is really just an awesome book, and it’s definitely a cut above any all-ages fantasy comic I’ve read in a long time. I don’t think I can say much more than that. You owe it to yourself to check this one out. You can snag a digital copy of chapter one of Echo Callaway for yourself at DriveThruComics and Indyplanet. You can get a physical copy of the book from Indyplanet here.