A Graphic Novel by Cab & Federica Di Meo
I’m a big manga guy, and I’ve seen so many western comics attempt to make works that borrow from the style with varying degrees of success over the years. Usually this sort of thing is pretty bad, relying on tropes and cultural aspects of the anime fandom for inspiration. It takes a special sort of comic to actually capture the proverbial lightning in the bottle that is the overall style of manga, and by all accounts the subject of this review is one of the better ones I’ve seen. Oneira – Part 1 – Crimson Moon by Cab & Federica Di Meo is a new fantasy comic series from Europe Comics, and so far I am impressed.
“In an obscure world gripped by terror, nightmares have come to life. Driven by the sole desire to eliminate their hosts, these monsters have become a plague to be eradicated. The Ordo-Sancti, a powerful religious group, has put the Weaver corps in charge of slaying the beasts. Arane Heos is a renowned member of the Weavers. As she battles the nightmares, she will have to deal with the growing turmoil within the Church and her caste, which now threatens the secret that involves her child.”
First and foremost, Federica De Meo’s artwork here is awesome. You can easily tell that she is inspired by 1990’s action and horror manga. Upon further research, I learned that she actually studied in Japan and was one of the first in Italy to use classic manga techniques. I have no idea if her artwork is digital or by hand, but she creates panels that are VERY reminiscent of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk at times, which is a great accolade. The story even preserves the Japanese manga format of having text bubbles and actions go from right to left, a quirk of Japanese comics that exists due to Japanese being printed in the opposite manner as most western languages. For all intents and purposes, this IS a manga to me in both form and substance rather than just being a western comic that pulls inspiration from Japanese artists. The book’s author, simply known as Cab, also holds a lot of his inspiration from Japanese manga, and I feel like he also has a good feel for how those stories are crafted.
It’s hard to rate this fully considering this is merely the first chapter in what is slated as a five issue series. What we do have is a solid introduction to the world and the monsters that inhabit it as well as our heroine Arane Heos a.k.a The Banshee. Much more than a lot of fantasy comics, this book has an insane amount of potential right off the bat, and I definitely plan to read more when I can. If the website for Europe Comics is any indication, the price for every issue of this is VERY reasonable at just $0.75 an issue! That’s an absolute steal if you ask me! Stay tuned, as this is something I will keep reading!
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NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.