Written by Antony Johnston and drawn by Christopher Mitten, I was not sure what to expect from this duo what I had seen in Wasteland #1, that post-apocalyptic story weave together from Oni Press which you can conveniently read the first issue of for free right here. Their new series begins with Umbral #1, subtitled The Day Dawned Twice. This story is set in the kingdom of Fendin, a typical seeming fantasy setting. But with the first few frames, the story takes us on a wild ride.
Umbral is not a place nor some magical spell. Umbral are the things you feared in the dark as a child, the monsters under the bed, and the Boogieman all rolled together. Teeth and shadow bent on death and destruction. But first, a story.
It was during the reign of King Petor and his lovely wife, Queen Innaline. There was an eclipse about to happen, always a magical time. As the Redguard searched for young Prince Arthir, the prince was busy sneaking away from his guards to meet his best friend, a young thief named Rascal.
Arthir and Rascal has big plans today to use the eclipse to sneak into the library and steal a magical object called The Oculus. Someone beat them to it and killed a guard. Things go from bad to worse when the two head down a secret passageway and see the king and queen dead and shadowy monsters using their blood in some dark ritual.
This story is a great fantasy tale with many twists and turns. I enjoyed every minute of it and really look forward to the next issue. Johnston’s style of writing is so smooth that it is like reading a great novel or watching a movie as the yarn spins out page after page. Combine this with the unique art of Christopher Mitten and there is something truly magical created here.
I read through Wasteland #1 and can really see that same sort of chemistry in Umbral #1. There is so much more to the story and a great twisty ending that left me longing for the next issue. I want to tell you more… but just go get the book!
Overall, this is a cool fantasy story, set in an elaborate world. There are allusions to a lot of backstory that I hope to hear about some day. Legends and lore are always cool. You never know, this could be a modern day classic. I will caution that it is a dark story, so don;t look for any happy endings just yet. There is blood, at least one severed limb, and some language in this as well, so I would not recommend this for kids, but a solid read for anyone else.
If you pick up Umbral #1 please comment on my review and let me know what you thought about it.