Mythspace: Liftoff 3 and Unfurling of Wings (paolo chikiamco / various artists) [rocket kapre]

Once again the awesome author/publisher Paolo Chikiamco has been nice enough to give us a preview of the Mythspace releases this November Komikon.

Again, Mythspace is a group of one-shots and multi-issue comics that are based on just one worldbuild filled with planetary kapres, tikbalang, nuno, and mananggal, plus humans, and illustrated by some of the current best in the indie komiks business.

The last two of this current set will be coming, and both are reviewed here.

Liftoff part 3 (illustrator Koi Carreon)

Bros manages to survive the direct attack on his life, mostly due to a mysterious something that latches on to him, and well-prized by the planetary factions. However he has to rapidly find out what the thing can do, because he may not be able to keep his second life for much longer. Also, he has new allies among his former enemies, whose lives are also in immediate danger.

Much of the incredible space-fight art that made Koi memorable as a komikero is in full view in this final instalment. So much understandable, well-choreographed, well-defined panel art is everywhere, making your heart pound at all the right moments.

Of course it helps that even if you can’t remember or don’t know the names of the main characters, you are given a clear picture of their personalities, making them relatable despite being renegades, bounty-hunters, and wanderers. Therefore when terrible things happen, or threaten to happen, you want to root for all them, not just the human.

The finale is nice, clean, and very distinctly Pinoy, leaving you satisfied and glad you finished all three instalments, and yet wanting more.

Unfurling of Wings (illustrator Borg Sinaban)

Introduced in the Mythspace preview, this one shot is being released only now in the third batch. It was worth the wait.

Can’t-seem-to-fly tan’gal (manananggal) Ri-en, geeky human Books, and tough nuno Zo are all orphans trying to survive on the residential space station Tangent, by hook or by crook. They overhear plans of a high-level Tan’gal to acquire a legendary something. The teenagers mount the totally insane but totally smart plan to outwit criminal masterminds and steal the legendary something for themselves. Why even try? It may be their last chance to save their father-figure Ka-ang from his core nature.

A portion of Unfurling of Wings only makes full sense after reading an info-dump in Liftoff Part 3, so it’s best to probably acquire them both. A small part makes better sense if you have read Humanity. This is both the strength and weakness of the Mythspace stories: each depends in some way on the others for full comprehension.

That said, as a stand-alone story Unfurling of Wings is a wonderful one-shot work, which comes in with good pacing, introduces everyone with good timing, then leaves at just the right moment. Within nearly 40 pages of material is enough story to make us relate with Ri-en and her friends, understand her world and situation, and give us a foolhardy jewel heist. In short, all awesome.

Since the work is also made for an older audience, Borg Sinaban’s skill at both well-made foregrounds and well-detailed backgrounds are on display, better than in the Pilandok comics. Emotions are clearly expressed, high-action pages are executed understandably. All this, without ever overwhelming any of the panels, showing enough detail but with sufficient restraint, all for the purpose of best delivering the story.

Overall, yes, go find the Rocket Kapre table on Komikon day and find the two new releases, and get the other earlier ones if you haven’t. This is solid, strong work by a great author in his element and in his full form, in tandem with some of the great artists Komikon has revealed. No matter your inclination in your komiks, you can’t go wrong with this series.

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