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Bird Boy vol 1: Sword Of Mali Mani


Bird Boy vol 1: Sword Of Mali Mani Bird Boy vol 1: Sword Of Mali Mani Bird Boy vol 1: Sword Of Mali Mani

Bird Boy vol 1: Sword Of Mali Mani back

Anne Szabla

Price: 
8.50

Page 45 Review by Stephen

A lovely little number for all ages which should appeal to fantasy-loving families including fans of Jeff Smith's BONE, this is light on text for those whom it frightens.

Not-very-old ones can marvel instead at the beautiful designs like the huge, all-encompassing head-dresses and masks - even the beasts bear masks! - as well as the sheer spectacle of a fellow, spirited youngster who will not be daunted nor nay-said in spite of being tiny, clumsy and a foundling outsider.

Its scope is potentially enormous and I would be far from surprised to discover in a decade's time that this was but a prologue. Which is to say that this first instalment comes with many more questions than answers.

Ripe with legend and lore, it tells of the Rook Men's animosity towards light and so love of a "halfway beast" which stole it from the world, hid it in a whelk shell then swallowed that whole.

Without the sun's life-giving rays the tribes of the two rivers found themselves hard-pressed to forage and hunt in a perpetual winter and ousted from the forest they'd once made their home. Fortunately they had a champion in the form of Mali Mani who had defeated the monster with a bell and sword, but was swallowed by the forest and kept incarcerated there by the Rook Men.

So it's still pretty cold.

Tomorrow our tiny Bali should be embarking on The Smokewalk, his adoptive River Tribe's rite of passage, but his centre of gravity is considered too low to even lift a spear let alone throw it accurately. Lakasi has a point there. But Bali sets off anyway late at night and of his own accord in search of an ancient ruin discovered earlier by accident in that same deep wood. And in doing so, he may be beginning his journey anyway...

Some small parts of the storytelling I found it difficult to discern - in a largely wordless comic you need maximum clarity - but I'll put it down to Bali being caught in the heat of the chaotic moments, all of which were still beautiful to behold. Young minds are more dextrous than mine anyway, and will move swiftly, eagerly on, relishing Bali's fortitude and resourcefulness and refusal to back down or give in when danger rears its multiple clawing, scratching and intimidating heads. Also, I know from experience that I'm no more competent with a javelin, either.

The pictorial wall paintings and pillar engravings are glorious, as was the elaborately ornamented fireplace. Look around carefully and you may notice a small entrance slashed at by much bigger claws sharp enough to make their carved mark on stone. Visually this world is very well built.

Plus there was an element of Playstation's Shadow Of The Colossus in one particular encounter and Disney's Fantasia in another sequence.

HELLBOY's Mike Mignola's a fan.

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