Sithrah vol. 1: Kingdom of the Air – Jason Brubaker

3 out of 5

It’s hard to tell at this point.  Jason Brubaker’s reMIND – of which I still haven’t read part 2, admittedly – drifted into tropes with its plotting, but had such expressive visual ideas and energy that it properly enhanced the tropes to support a flourishing world.  It makes sense that Brubaker is friends with Doug TenNapel (the foreword in Sithrah), as Doug writes in a very similar predictable but rewarding fashion, also buoyed by his insane creativity with his imagery.  And I can make that statement about reMIND without having read the second part: the impact it makes is pretty immediate.  Which just isn’t so with Sithrah.  It’s a gorgeous book, and much more evidently displaying Jason’s history in animation in terms of layout and how pages flow one into another, but the 80 pages took me all of 30 minutes to read and… not much out of the ordinary happens.  A young girl named Nirvana is in a plane flown by her father; he sees something ominous, they crash; Nirvana wakes up alone.  It’s only in the last few pages that the titular character makes an appearance and we shift into the realm of potential, but it’s hard to believe this can be sewn into something satisfying in a similarly paced part two, if, like reMIND, the series is only two parts.  It’s possible, of course – after all, reMIND made its impression in one book – but beyond reuniting the girl with her father, unless Jason takes things in a completely unpredictable direction…  Well, whatever, it’s possible.  I can only judge this volume, which is beautifully bound, has fantastic art, and a well-paced storybook narration that easily flips between text and word bubbles.  But I would say that without the interest founded by Jason’s previous book, I’m not sure if Kingdom of the Air, as a standalone, would merit me absolutely picking up the second part.

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