Comic Review: Chadhiyana #1

Chadhiyana is one of the newest releases from Rosarium Publishing. It seems like Africa is the big thing in comics right now, but everyone can't pull it off correctly. Doing a story about Africa comes with huge risk but similarly it can come with huge rewards if done correctly. Africa is an unfamiliar place to a lot of people so when a story takes place in Africa it's new and bold. It either grabs people's attention or pushes them away depending on the creators presentation of the work. When they can't do it correctly we end up with things like Captain Africa. Luckily Chadhiyana doesn't fall into any of the traps and tropes that creating a series based in Africa often comes with. Chadhiyana is written and illustrated entirely by J. M. DeSantis. Desantis single-handedly creates a story that is all his own with no obvious outside influences. It's a story that has never been told before with new characters that still finds a way to grip you although it's a new experience.

The story follows the Tal-Ifatiir, a group dedicated to wiping out dark magic across the world. The
Tal-Ifatiir have a unique appearance that seems to mix a few different cultures. The thing about their style is it can't be confused for some other group. They're not in the standard comic book team matching spandex or heavy armor. It's a really cool design that sticks with you even after you've finished reading. 

The main character is Chadhiyana. The interesting thing is you have no idea who she is until she's described in the last few pages. She's not even described, just her actions. However her actions are so distinct that you already know who she is despite everyone being dressed the same. It's one of the small things that is done so well that you can't help be interested in. 

The real introduction to Chadhiyana comes early in the comic where the group takes on a witch that practices dark magic. The opening to the story is really amazing. There's no actual dialogue and the only words are just sound effects. It's an entire battle depicted in silence. Looking at the art it's obvious people are making sounds but the fact that nobody is speaking adds to the tension. You can relate to the adrenaline flowing and not really hearing anything that is going on around you. It's dark and cuts back and forth between action scenes as if everything is playing out so quickly. There's no time for dialogue because lives are on the line. It's the opposite of Superman and Batman discussing Superman's relationship with Wonder Woman while taking on Braniac's goons. It creates a small sense of horror. 

It's a rare style where majority of the story can be told with just the art. The only other time I've seen it is the current Batgirl comic. The difference here is this one is much darker. It's not a campy trip down memory lane. It's an intense battle with people dying left and right. It takes a special talent to create emotion in people without relying heavily on dialogue.

The artwork alone is beautiful. It's a rare style for a comic in the sense that it doesn't rely on heavy smooth lines. It's the opposite. Lines are thin and shaky yet deliberate. There are no bold lines to draw your eyes to specific locations. The story also uses a lot of black, not gray, but pure black. Black isn't just used to fill space it's placed deliberately to add a sense of mystery to various portions. However the art has a great contrast. When the setting flips from a battle to a village the art flips as well. The basic style remains the same but it shows the versatility. In the village colors are suddenly bright and vibrant in contrast to the dark color scheme. It's just really cool how DeSantis is able to flip the color scheme when most artist keep one neutral scheme throughout. 

Chadhiyana is a comic that does a lot of small unique things really well. It manages to create a story that you're interested in seeing to it's conclusion. It's filled with interesting art, interesting characters, interesting cultures. It's just interesting. It's something that pulls you in and you may not know why at first but eventually you realize there's a lot of reasons it's pulled you in.

Chadhiyana goes on sale July 13th Rosarium Publishing

You can hear Darrell on the CP Time and Powerbomb Jutsu podcasts. He also plays classic arcade games on The Cabinet
Comic Review: Chadhiyana #1 Comic Review: Chadhiyana #1 Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, July 03, 2015 Rating: 5

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