Review: Zojaqan #1

The key to a rich life is to have as many experiences as possible. Sometimes these experiences come in the form of reading a comic book. Zojaqan, is one of those rare books which will make you take pause and give recognition to its wholly original vision. Issue #1 of this new series (published by Vault) introduces us to Shannon Kind, a grieving mother who seems to be transported between time periods in a surreal world that alternates between horrific and restful. The world allows her a place to heal, by finding new ways to challenge her survival at every turn.

Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing (writers) task readers to use both their intelligence and imagination as they work their way through this unfolding story. We are merely given a guideline to follow, which allows the freedom to draw conclusions as to what is really going on. One thing for sure, they do emphasize the point that everything Shannon is experiencing is quite real. This is not a dream world she will wake from. By the issues end, readers will have enough detail to have an idea where the story will lead, but enough questions will be left unanswered to make sure your curiosity brings you back again to drink from this deep flavorful well.

Credit must be given to Deron Bennett, (letters) for the masterful job of calligraphy that is achieved. Letterer’s are sometimes the forgotten heroes of the creative team in the books we read, but Bennett’s work stands out and must be recognized for the amazing feat of penmanship that it is. Nathan Gooden (Artist) and Vittorio Astone (Colors) work wonders themselves by alternating between the surreal and grounded regions of the script. While most of the written story takes place in Shannon’s mind, the artistic team does a fine job of helping the reader understand the emotional turmoil she is going through.

Shannon Kind is a survivor. She has somehow left her old life behind and is finding a way to adapt to the new environments she is continuously presented with. In this first issue of Zojaqan, we learn that she will find creative ways to stay alive, but as we approach the end of the book, we are left with a question. Will she be able to find a way to thrive?

This is a fantasy story that found a way to tug on my heartstrings while never removing me from the lush colorful world that has been created. Human instinct, the never-ending fight to survive, freedom to work through agonizing grief, and a willingness to explore this curious new world. This is a fantasy book, but it has deep roots in our human condition.

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Vittorio Astone (A/CA) Nathan Gooden
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