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A Distant Soil Volume 1: The Gathering Paperback – August 20, 2013
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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I first saw the remastered books when Colleen Doran was at Wizard World Minneapolis 2017. She showed me the work that went into them (I have worked on Japanese translations for VIZ so know how much of a headache those dot screens can be). AMAZING - Can't recommend these new volumes highly enough!
When it debuted, it was by far one of the most original and intriguing comic stories I had ever read. A huge cast of characters, from all kinds of genres and backgrounds (fantasy, urban, mythical, young, old, science fiction, alien...) form a broad sweeping space opera of a story involving politics, political statements, and human interrelations. No one was ever what they appeared and with that large a cast of characters, there were discoveries aplenty to be found as the story slowly unfolded.
For those who have read the series, this new edition is reedited for current political situations (e.g., cold war references), has been restored after the original scans/art had been lost by the publisher, but is fairly intact from the original Immigrant Song. Although I still prize the original exquisite all-pencil sketches from the Elfquest years, I respect that this was a much more sustainable format for her story. Due to the reediting and restoration, I found it to be subtly much more cohesive. And a bit less dated (as can be expected of an urban fantasy from 30 years ago).
For those who have never read the series, you're in for a treat. This really is a full fledged space opera of vast proportions - the story mainly following a sibling pair who have supernatural powers and, it turns out, are illicit heirs to an intergalactic empire of unimaginable power - an empire that is built upon enslaving worlds. There are elaborate caste systems, magic, technology, and then the fantasy: from Arthurian myths to an Egyptian cat goddess. The artwork in the beginning will be very definitely set in the 1980s but don't let that distract you - once we get to the alien ship, the drawings and set up are absolutely gorgeous.
I've followed the trials and setbacks of the author/artist - the many lawsuits, ownership issues, and quest for artist rights and protections. Then the calamitous bankruptcy of her third publisher and loss of the originals (required for republication). It's a relief to see that things are finally coming together for this long standing series - and that it is finally reaching its end after all these years.
A Distant Soil is a true original - then as well as now. Highly recommended.
Provided as an ARC by the publisher.
This is an epic story of a brother and sister who are espers, aliens, cops and gangsters and even a knight from King Arthur's round table shows up. It seems like every few pages another character is showing up. In another story, that would seem to be too much, but it's all done pretty well here.
The art has been digitally restored, and you can really see the artistic progress from the beginning of this graphic novel until the end. The characters hair and clothes are very much from the 80s, with everyone sporting big hair. The characters look a bit similar in the way they are drawn, so I got confused occasionally, but the backgrounds in the later issues reminded me of the cosmic comics of the 1970s like Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer. It's a fun book.