Comics Review: The Solemn Beauty of City Of Walls
Walking through NYCC can sometimes be a visual and audio overload. During NYCC 2015, there are moments when you just have to leave the ‘confines’ of the big name publishers and wander around the booths of the smaller vendors for awhile. There are authors, crafters, and others all sprinkled about the show floor, but occasionally, you run into independent publishers hoping to strike out on their own and start their own projects. Shaun Noel and his City Of Walls project was one that instantly caught my eye due to the artwork of A.K. Lovelace, and I’m so glad that I took a chance and bought it.
City Of Walls chronicles the adventures and struggles of three children, Ariana, Jin, and Daniel, within a fictional city state (I suppose that’s the correct definition) called Kowloon. Born from a defunct military base, Kowloon evolved from being a violent gang controlled and unregulated or governed area to a technological experimental haven, as well as a criminal haven it seems, that is controlled by the wealthy ‘Nobles’, and the unified gangs of the ‘Triad’.
Honestly, it is kind of hard to tell you what truly captured my imagination and attention while reading this, but somehow it did. The children themselves are not ‘extraordinary’ and their friendship isn’t even that detailed outside of the common struggle of being in Kowloon and wanting to get out. Still, there story in these two volumes screamed of so much emotion that I had to continue reading it. All in all, you are trying to figure out the mystery as well as the history of this violent and corrupt city state and as subtle nuggets of the reality of this place are unveiled, you are drawn into why each of these kids hate their situation and what to leave it.
Daniel and Jin’s infatuation with planes and movies lead them to a grand ole scheme to build a plane and fly their way out of Kowloon to freedom. Ariana joins the crew and is woven in almost as love interest kinda. Still, the imagination of Daniel and how his stories impress his friends are the catalyst for the three friends to dream big. Of course, as good stories go, the realities of life always seem to ground those who dream… but only for a short while. I love how this story embodies that as every page has me feeling for the plight of each child and rooting for them to succeed.
A.K. Lovelace lays out the action and emotion in a gritty kind of almost anime style of artwork that manages to capture the different ethnicities in the story very well. Also, the dark and sad tone of the story really fits the art style which kept me examining each panel for clues. Needless to say, if I can’t appreciate and enjoy the art style, I won’t be hard pressed to keep reading and Lovelace definitely keeps my interest.
Published by Red Stylo Media in two volumes, the rest of the story beyond reside on www.webtoons.com via www.cityofwalls.com.
Twitter: @Cityofwalls, @WriterShaun, @StandAlonePro, @Red_Stylo