Created by Sam Bosma
Published by NoBrow Press
Oversize Hardback – £12.95 – Full Colour
ISBN – 978-1-910620-10-6
A mysterious tournament and a fishy town’s amphibious inhabitants confront Wiz and Mug with the revelation that the United Order of Mages may not be exactly what it seems… In order to fulfill their mission, they’re going to have to abide by the ancient law of the land and better their opponent in a game of volleyball! The question is, can they trust each other and work together to defeat the great and powerful volleyball champions Yahma and Yahmi?’
The Preview: A dose of Sam Bosma will always brighten your day, in this reviewer’s humble opinion. The energy of The Bandit of Barbel Bay just leaps off the page at you, offering a full tilt, no excuses, fun action-packed comic book.
Leading on from the monstrously (literally) enjoyable ride that was the first volume is this beautifully crafted second issue that this time centres on the beach sport of volleyball. Wiz and Mug again take centre stage. Wiz is an enthusiastic young heroine and Mug her grumpy, punch first brawny bull-headed foil, who argue and riff off each other throughout. They are such fun to read and play off each other with changing dynamics and a real storytelling energy.
We also begin to get a look into the origin stories of the characters and a little more about the weird goings on in the worlds around them. There is definitely something unfolding in the wider world that will be interesting to see how this develops in future books.
The art is genuinely exceptional. Sam shows all of the best bits of his Manga influences, but adds intricate detail and hilarious designs. This world is a weird place, full of the strange, the bonkers and the beautiful. The bar scenes in the first act, a personal favourite of mine, make you wish that Sam could have a pop at a ‘Munden’s Bar‘ type book with every brush line in every single panel. Even the buildings, countryside and architecture bleed individuality and freshness.
This is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is like watching the last nail biting minutes of a good game of sport. It will also make you smile and laugh at the over-the-top antics and overblown emotions. It is literally an adrenalin injection of a comic, thrilling and affecting, fun and frenetic. Just flippin’ splendid spot-on work at every page turn.
This is also a great Young Adventure story, perfect for those noisy kids on long journeys. Just be careful as the back of that car seat might get some excited kicks as they read!
The last page of the story gives a hint as to what sport out heroes will be playing in Volume 3 – I’ll leave you to buy this and find out for yourselves…..
About the author: After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Sam Bosma taught in the Illustration department from 2011 to 2013 before moving to Brooklyn, NY. He won a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators in the Institutional category, as well as a Gold Award from Spectrum in 2013. He currently does background drawings for Steven Universe on Cartoon Network when not making comics and graphic novels of his own. He lives in Brooklyn, New York in the United States.
Many thanks for reading.