A Graphic Novel by Cab & Federica Di Meo
Continuing on from my recent review of the second chapter, today I will be looking at Oneira – Part 3 – Amant Ad Mortem, by Cab & Federica Di Meo. When we last left the story, readers were being treated to a bit of a flashback of how the principle characters Arane and Bastione first met, and boy is this chapter a doozy! As a member of the Epeires Corps, the armed wing of the Ordo-Sancti, Arane is basically a militarized exorcist in many ways – dispatched to use her abilities to ward off paranormal adversaries to the church. The majority of this book is one such case, involving a small village where a young man is presumed to be under the influence of a diabolical spirit. He has been doing some terrible things in his sleep and the townspeople are terrified about the nature of said acts ramping up. While previous chapters have had a bit more of an introspective adventure vibe, this particular chapter is more of a grizzly horror story akin to the recent Netflix animated series CastleVania, and I absolutely loved it!
“Call on her when nightmares become a reality! In an obscure world gripped by terror, our worst nightmares have come to life, becoming monsters that resemble humans. Faced with this threat, the Epeires corps, an armed wing of the Ordo-Sancti, a powerful religious group, becomes for a ray of hope in a world of darkness. By vanquishing the creatures coming from their own dreams, the Epeires awaken within themselves remarkable occult abilities. They’re able to free those who are imprisoned in their own nightmares and destroy the powerful beasts that have been terrorizing them with magic spells. Arane Heos, a cold and dispirited woman, is a member of the Epeires. A skilled swordswoman, she has slain more beasts than anyone can remember. But a burdensome secret, one that she has only confided to her friend Bastione, is going to put them on a collision course with the zealots of the Ordo-Sancti.”
Cab has outdone himself in this issue, as the mystery of what is plaguing this small village and the grizzly aftermath of these attacks is weighing heavily on the young man at the center of this. The plot reminds me of many old gothic horror stories such as Carmilla, especially the ones that preceded Dracula, wherein the readers likely have a pretty good idea of what is happening, but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader invested. It has all the hallmarks of an older vampire story (although this isn’t a vampire), which I adore. This was also one of the times where the artist Federica Di Meo got to play around a bit with monster designs, delivering a creepy antagonist that looks straight out of an extreme metal music video. Overall, I felt like this was the strongest issue so far.
I have posted this before but I will gop over it again. This book is basically structured as a five chapter manga volume as far as I can tell, and this has been split into five digital files that can be purchased one-by-one on the Europe Comics website or Amazon for less than a dollar a pop. 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, and I think Amazon has them for $0.99 each! That’s an absolute steal if you ask me! Assuming this was a full manga trade, you would expect to pay something like $9.99 to upwards of $14.99 for something sitting at well over 200 pages, so you really can’t go wrong.
Overall, I loved the horror aspects of this issue. We really get to see what Arane’s powers can do here, as well as a reason why she uses them in the first place. I’m all for some solid worldbuilding, and this is easily one of the most successful chapters in that regard. I definitely appreciated the fact that writing did not force a huge exposition “wall of text” to the readers to get there; everything was organic and well-placed. We can see what The Church is up against, and why they even have militarized exorcists in the first place, as well as the standing that members of the Epeires Corps hold in this world. I am very excited to read chapter four, and hope we can get some more chapters where the characters fight monsters like this. If you are interested in this title, keep checking back as I have a couple more from this volume that I plan to read. I’m not sure if the second “book” has been translated into English as of yet, but if so, I’m sure I’ll get there as well.
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