Meanwhile, away from the Komikons, far away from the end of Mangaholix, Kevin Libranda (author of Aporia) has been quietly but steadily working. The result is currently one of the premium comics of MangaMagazine.net: Novus Karma.
Jose Calajati is an average college student at Tondo University when things start suddenly changing for the dangerous and weird, starting with some thugs successfully killing him while chasing a girl from some future. But he doesn’t die (of course, otherwise we have no story), and he is pulled away into a future where he’s the last one that looks like him standing. Apparently Jose Calajati is a savior of some sort, the best user of karma, special powers held by special people that others want to kill. These special powers may or may not be involved in a special scientific project dealing with angel-type aliens.
Novus Karma is the complete opposite of Aporia, futuristic and sci-fi. Yet it also solidly and plentifully has his penchant for portals. That said, his portal system is quite interesting. The story as a whole is also better planned-out than his earlier work, with more even pacing of the panels and dialogue. No longer does it aim to be pretty; Novus Karma solidly aims to deliver a story. The placement of the story in a Manila that is universally recognizable yet local, and without apology to an international readership no less, is incredible.
All the characters are given sufficient airtime to be distinct from each other, in reference to their importance in the story. It is clear whether they are friends or foes. All characters are given little quirks that make them more human, taking away from their stereotypes. Females are generally treated with respect, considered smart and capable, with actually decent functional attire, even though there is still plenty of eye-candy shots.
The art has also improved much from Aporia, while retaining his distinct style with faces, hair, and body contours. It is more judicious in providing detailed backgrounds, and when they are given they are a sight to behold. ‘Camera angles’ are also much better as compared to that earlier work.
Overall, it deserves the attention the international membership of MangaMagazine.net has given it. It’s totally free to read online, and also downloadable as Amazon.com ebooks for a fee. If you’re not reading this yet, go marathon it now, because you’re missing on some good komiks by some great local talent.