Chimera, Vol. 1

Tyler Ellis. Comicker, $19.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-9974873-3-6
Writer-artist Ellis’s sci-fi/fantasy heist comic is buoyed by stellar worldbuilding but dragged down by derivative, though pretty, art. A group of thieves is sent to retrieve a mystical MacGuffin (the Chimera) that is crucial in an ongoing holy war involving a self-proclaimed god, the Resistance Coalition, and the Zodiacal Conclave. Ellis establishes strong characters and intrigue: Who’s a traitor within the group? What’s the deal with an imprisoned demon? And what the heck does the Chimera do, anyway? These questions are answered in satisfying fashion, leaving plenty of room for sequels. The heroes are hard to resist: a charming group of rogues in a Star Wars–ish universe that’s far more adult, diverse, and relevant than George Lucas’s. Ellis shines a light on the creepiness of religion through, for example, the seven “holy priestesses” who are abject and veiled before a male deity. But while imitating the popular Saga series is nothing new, Ellis’s character design and facial expressions are so akin to Fiona Staples’s sprightly, tight art style that it’s hard to ignore the flattery. Unfortunately, however attractive (if familiar) the comics art is, it can’t quite keep up with the script. Ellis’s provocative social commentary makes for a solid entry in the genre, but this graphic novel lacks the inventiveness to win a broader fan base.(June)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
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