The Plot: Descending from the heavens, an ancient demon has returned to forge a new era of prosperity. After traversing through the universe, he now returns to where he was born to seed a new royal bloodline. One is born who may stand in his way…
The Review: Phoenix: A Warrior’s Tale is an onomatopoeia piece, meaning no dialogue, just glorious artwork. Tony Suleri, a man well known for his eye-popping attention to detail, uses a more simplified art style throughout, which helps maintain clarity and gives the comic an oriental flavour.
With silent strips the biggest challenge is to get the pacing right, as there’s no dialogue to slow the readers down. For the most part, Adam and Tony achieve this well; Tony uses four panels a page, which keeps the reading speed consistent. Adam gives events in the story plenty of room to develop, and has fun experimenting with various squidgy and squelchy sound effects.
The only part of the comic where the pacing is a little off is the last five pages, where the story flashes forward in time to show important stages of development in the warrior’s life. Although this sudden quickening of pace may cause a few readers to miss a few details, the rear of the comic contains various design sketches and character profiles, which explain the stories plot in full.
Without dialogue, Phoenix: A Warrior’s Tale is a quick read, but one I found myself gladly repeating (there’s enough burning peasants, sword wielding maniacs, bloody decapitations and evil possessed monkeys to keep anyone happy). Judging by the concept designs and research notes, this is just a taster of a much larger project (it has a distinct ‘prologue’ feel about it). With both Adam and Tony being in popular demand around the small press circuit, it might take some time for more Phoenix strips to materialise.
I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.
Phoenix: A Warrior’s Tale will be released on the 13th October 2009, priced £3.95
Previews available here: www.myebook.com/clownpress
Available to buy at: http://www.adamgrose.com/
Digital download available from: www.lulu.com/clownpress