cover image The Tiger’s Tongue

The Tiger’s Tongue

Olivia Stephens and Diansakhu Banton-Perry. Mad Cave, $17.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-952303-32-6

A warrior saves a magical tiger from death, unleashing a fast-paced plot in this uneven fabulist series opener from Stephens (Artie and the Wolf Moon) and newcomer artist Banton-Perry. The “Grand Tiger” bestows elemental and other supernatural abilities to the warrior’s village and claims them as The Tiger’s People, warning of an ancient prophecy. Their ambitious monarch creates the Claw, a mountain forged by subsuming a river and oppressing the natives of the river land. Centuries later, twin princesses Kelindi and Aridani prepare to ascend the throne while The River’s People protest their dynastic tyrannical rulers. Kelindi’s a warrior with fire powers who sympathizes with the rebels; undisciplined Aridani speaks the Tiger’s tongue, but doesn’t want the crown. The prophecy forces the twins to “battle” to determine the future of The Tiger’s People. As the pair undergo three harrowing trials (of the mind, body, and spirit), their personalities and motivations transform. Inconsistent body proportions and sloppy details in the artwork distract, but a rich palette of earth tones and vibrant reds by colorist Bex Glendining infuses dynamism into the flat drawings. Showdowns culminate in an emotional conclusion as hubris meets personal sacrifice. The twists will keep readers on their toes in what proves a captivating tale. Agent: (for Stephens) Jennifer Azantian, Azantian Literary Agency. (Feb.)