Review Day Tuesday: Shadowbinders, Book 1

shadowbinders headerShadowbinders, Book 1 is one of the few books I picked up at Intervention Con over a month ago. Before I go into my review, let me talk about what the story is.

The book I got is actually a collection of the first four chapters of the webcomic Shadowbinders. The story follows Mia, a 17-year-old high school girl with average teen girl problems… until she receives a gift from her grandmother. The gift is an old book full of drawings and a ring, both of which belonged to her late grandfather. However, when she tries on the magic ring, she’s whisked away to a fantasy world – the same world shown in the drawings of the book!

Now, before I read this, I did not know what to expect, really. I didn’t even know who the target audience was. I mean, the art looked relatively friendly to everybody, but I didn’t want to make assumptions – I’ve seen relatively child-friendly art illustrate blood and gore (thanks Hunter x Hunter).

With that said, Shadowbinders is actually pretty safe for everyone to read. This is what I would call an all-ages series, even with one or two innuendos and one scene with someone getting stabbed. It’s not even all that graphic.

Anyway, the set-up is sort of cliched, but the world is at least imaginative. It has a steampunk aesthetic with crazy types of animals and fun magic that is easy to understand. Even the action scenes are fun, and thankfully they’re easy to follow. So many artists can make an action scene unreadable in comics, but thankfully that is not the case in Shadowbinders.

The story and characters are…slow to develop. I didn’t really get invested in the characters until the end of Chapter 2. I do, however, want to stick around with this series to see how it goes.

I did have the chance to talk to the artist of the series at Intervention Con (the writer was out at a panel). I remember when I picked up this book, he expressed what I like to call, “The Artist’s First Book Lament.” I suffer from this, as well: it’s when an artist looks at the first book and goes, “AUGH, the art looks so awful! I’m glad I improved, but geez!”

Since he said that, I’m actually pretty excited to read the rest of the series. I want to see where it goes and see the progression of the art style. As fun as it is, I can see it only getting better.

So have you read Shadowbinders? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you have any suggestions for comics or books to read, please leave them in comments as well.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday.

2 Replies to “Review Day Tuesday: Shadowbinders, Book 1”

  1. I read the webcomic 400+ pages is really intimidating. I liked the story and the progression of the art style. I will agree that the development of the story and characters are slow. But that is world building for you. A lot of events happened and despite events moving I get the feeling that it was episodic in the beginning. Might pick of speed. I do like the story and will continue to follow it.

    1. You’re right, it IS really episodic at the start. I didn’t really think about that until you mentioned it, but it makes sense. I think (and hope) it’s one of those stories that starts out middling but gets better as time goes on.

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