Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lost Raven Graphic Novel Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Darren G. Davis

Art By
Renato Arlem
Sean Murphy
Hermes T.

Lettering By
Christopher Studabaker
Thomas White

Cover By
Keu Cha

Published By
Bluewater Productions

Genre
Action, Adventure

Synopsis

After learning that he has contracted the HIV virus, attorney Zak Raven leaves his practice behind to set forth on a mission of relaxation – until his peaceful trip goes wildly astray, leaving Zak shipwrecked on what he thinks is a deserted island with only the words in his own journal to keep him company.

Unknown to Zak, four miles below the surface secretly hides a government experimentation center where scientists are playing God by trying to artificially evolve a human based species that can survive evacuation missions in deep space. 

Within 900 years, earth will be dealt a deathblow by a mountain-size asteroid. However, so far they have only achieved creating living abominations. Zak and these creatures are on a collision course, and he must rise to the challenge!

Review

I was a bit confused as to what exactly to expect from this one.  On one hand, some of the information that I have read about this release leads me to see this one as a very autobiographical story, yet on the other hand it feels like it would be a balls to the wall type of action story.

With that type of mixture, would this story be disjointed or even a bit of a gimmicky story?

After reading this one I must say, the mixture was absolutely spot on and the way that the writing combines the two elements creates not only a very exciting story but an incredibly personal and heartfelt one too.

There have been many things written about Lost Raven and it's deservedly the winner of awards but one thing struck me after I had read this one.  Yes, there were monsters, yes there were action packed sequences and yes there were some brilliant scenes of heroism and bravery but that's not what stayed with me the most.  The part that stayed with me was the simple fact that this is first and foremost a story about a man learning to not give in to his illness but to find the bravery inside that he hadn't felt before.  In fact, it's an incredibly touching and emotional story.  The fact that there are monsters and life or death battles is just an afterthought yet hooks you in fully.  You find yourself rooting for him to not only survive the island but to also survive his prognosis as well.

One of the other things that really touched me was the fact that Davis used some of his own diary entries from when he discovered he was ill himself and I think that was a massively brave move.  I think that approach is really what made the character of Zak such a realistic one and despite all the crazy moments happening around him, he comes across as not only down to Earth but as someone you would happily talk to while out and about in the real world.

Art wise, one of the things I found a little distracting was the fact that the first part was done in a completely different art style to the rest of the book.  I don't mean that in a bad way because both styles are very good but when I got to the second part of the book and the art style has changed in a big way, it felt a little disorientating.  That said, that feeling added to the story in a way because it made me feel like that must have been what Zak was feeling on the island.

This has definitely got to be one of the best releases that I have seen come from Bluewater Productions.  The fact that it can combine such a fantastical story yet feel completely human and emotional shows just how much of a talented writer Davis is.  The fear about this one would be that the feelings felt by Zak could have slipped in to melodrama or feel like one of the 'disease of the week' movies they have on the low budget television channels but it really doesn't.  Nor does the character come across as tragic or anything along those lines, instead coming across as brave and sympathetic.

All in all, I would definitely class this as a title that would be more than welcome on my book shelf and one that is well worth getting.  It tackles a very hard subject but with class and a delicate hand but is also an exciting and action packed story of survival not only on an island with some utterly bizarre creatures but also in his own head too.

Story 9/10
Art 8.5/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 35/40

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