cover image NEOTOPIA: Volumes 1 and 2

NEOTOPIA: Volumes 1 and 2

Rod Espinosa, . . Antarctic Press, $9.99 (163pp) ISBN 978-1-932453-58-4

This fantasy, told in a breathlessly imaginative style that piles wonder upon wonder, is poised to become a perennial favorite. The all-ages story is set in a future where magical creatures from legends and other worlds have come to live among humans who have abandoned technology for magic. Plucky heroine Nalyn is a servant who poses as grand duchess of the utopian city Mathenia, while the real duchess, Nydia, attends balls in distant lands. Of course, Nalyn is a better ruler in every way, which comes in handy when the evil empire of Krossos attempts to kidnap her. This sets off a spectacular war between flying ships piloted by batlike humans and sinister insectoids. The first volume ends with treachery and sacrifice. The second picks up the story as Nalyn and her romantic interest, the irreverent inventor Philios, have to fight hyena-like pirates and the continuing threat from Krossos. Espinosa's fertile imagination and stunning art create a fully realized world of magical races, fantastic inventions and intriguing personalities. Even if some of the situations are standard, the execution is all his own. The only problem is that shrinking the original comics down to manga size has made the lettering almost impossible to read. This story deserves a wider screen. (Oct.)