reflection

Breaklands is like an amazingly crafted patchwork quilt. You can focus on a single moment, pull out the influence, and be impressed by the craftsmanship. Yet, when you pull back and see the work as a whole you find something truly amazing. A piece of art that is truly breathtaking and the sum total is exponentially greater than its parts. Breaklands reminds you why you love comics.
Writing/Story
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
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Review: BREAKLANDS VOL 1: THE CHASE is a Once in a Decade Work!

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The physical release of BREAKLANDS VOLUME ONE: THE CHASE will happen on March 3rd, 2021. The book will collect the first five issues of the digital first series that were released by Comixology. The in-print edition will be released by Dark Horse Comics. The story is written by Justin Jordan. The art is created by Tyasetta. Sarah Stern provides colors, and Rachel Deering handles lettering.

Breaklands is like an amazingly crafted patchwork quilt. You can focus on a single moment, pull out the influence, and be impressed by the craftsmanship. Yet, when you pull back and see the work as a whole you find something truly amazing. A piece of art that is breathtaking and the sum total is exponentially greater than its parts. Breaklands reminds you why you love comics.

STORY

Justin Jordan tells a brilliant story set in a world that combines genres like sci-fi, superhero, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian. However, in a world that is so blatantly different from that of the reader it still feels lived-in and real. What is truly remarkable about the setting is how Jordan combines all these genres together, and the world still feels hopeful and new. Even with all of its faults, you’re drawn into it. You want to know more about it and you want to understand how the world came to be the way it is. You want to know more about every character you see in the background. It is truly inconceivable how the writer combines so many influences and presents something that feels fresh and new.

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While the setting and world building is truly jaw-dropping, the characters are nearly beyond compare in the world of sequential art. Kasa Fain is our protagonist, and from the get go it is nearly impossible not to love her. She is loyal to her family. She is unique in a world filled with larger than life people and circumstances. In her quest, she assembles a motley crew that is just as loveable as she is. Each one of them has a unique voice and feel. Just wait until you meet Toy and Ruth.

Of course what would the good guys be if they were not met with an amazing antagonist to thwart them on their way? The villains in this book are just so compelling. You want to know more about them, and there are a few instances where you are hoping redemption will come for them in future volumes (I am looking at you Shattersword). The story in Breaklands Volume One: The Chase is breathtaking. Every page beckons you forward, and yet you want to linger so you can appreciate the moment that is laid before you on the page. Justin Jordan has crafted a modern classic. The only source of irritation I found was when there was not another page to turn.

ART

Tyasetta’s work is equal to the brilliance of the story they are helping tell. They make the story seem hopeful, though it’s set in a hopeless world. The love one feels for each of the characters is due to how they are drawn on the page. In the art, you see a vast number of influences and an amazing display of talent. In some of the pages that depict heavy action, I was reminded of the X-men comics I loved as a child. On pages that focused solely on our protagonist, it was like seeing a Disney movie as a kid.

In the crowded city scenes, I saw the manga I had read as a teen. The truly amazing part of the art is that even though it felt reminiscent of so many forms, it also felt brilliant and new. It never felt stale or that it was trying to imitate something that preceded it. It is clear the art is grounded in past works, but it is also a new vibrant expression in the world of comics.

COLORING

In Breaklands Sarah Stern’s colors are another brilliant part of the tapestry. The palette somehow feels simultaneously muted and vibrant. In the work, you encounter a multitude of environments and each one has their own array of color. This gives each place a brilliant and unique look. It helps the reader differentiate where each section of the story is happening, and does a great job of conveying the mood of each setting.

Each character’s color helps tell their own unique story. The colors chosen to depict each one helps us see their unique voice and perspective. The coloring makes the world feel diverse, and that a million different stories could happen. The coloring is inviting and warm.

LETTERING

Rachel Deering does a great job with lettering Breaklands in a traditional way. The lettering never steals focus, but does help convey what is going on in the world. The onomatopoeia is done in a fashion that feels authentic to the world. It is here the lettering really makes itself known. The letter combines with the art in action sequences to make you feel like you are hearing the sounds.

CONCLUSION

Breaklands Volume One: The Chase is an amazing and brilliant book. Every ingredient in the pot is delicious on its own, but when combined you have an experience that is out of this world. This is a once a decade work on par with Saga, Fables, Umbrella Academy, and Sandman. It is not a work that you love because it is a comic. It is a work that makes you love comics.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown holds a MA in Religious Studies from the University of Georgia, and a MDiv from Emory University. His passions include video games, comics, and is a huge Power Rangers fan. He has published articles in Back Issue Magazine. The International Journal of Comic Art, the Jack Kirby Collector, and The Minas Tirith Evening Star. He is a frequent contributor to the "It's Dangerous to Go Alone Podcast" on the Move Over Kids Youtube Channel. He has is own YouTube Channel, Bandana Gamer. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, 3 cats, and 2 dogs.