A Distant Soil, Vol. 1: The Gathering
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A Distant Soil, Vol. 1: The Gathering (A Distant Soil #1)

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The story of a young girl, Liana, who is born heir to an alien religious dynasty and is the most powerful psychic being in the universe In Volume One: The Gathering, Liana and her older brother Jason escape the cruel captivity they have known most of their lives only to encounter a warship sent by her father to assassinate her
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Image Comics / Aria Press (first published 1997)
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Robert Beveridge
Colleen Doran, A Distant Soil, vol. I (1998, Image Entertainment)

I should preface this by saying that Colleen Doran's A Distant Soil is the first graphic novel I've read since The Watchmen, some thirteen years ago, and so I may be missing some of the subtleties involved. If so, mea culpa.

I've just finished the first volumes of the A Distant Soil trilogy (at least, it's a trilogy as of this writing), and I've been trying to decide whether I want to continue on with the other two books in the seri...more
Evan Kingston
A very exciting and engrossing introduction to this sci-fi/fantasy epic. Switching between 80's America to outer-space to the time of King Arthur, the scenes last just long enough to get invested but not long enough to fully understand what is happening. I felt pulled along by my own wonder and curiosity throughout and can't wait to see if the next volume can start fulfilling the massive promises of this beginning.

While all the art is beautiful, I did have some trouble with the stylistic switche...more
Wayne McCoy
Colleen Doran began writing A Distant Soil when she was twelve. Neil Gaiman gives a great tribute to this and the stories he wrote when he was 12, and how Colleen's saw print and his didn't (sort of).

This is an epic story of a brother and sister who are espers, aliens, cops and gangsters and even a knight from King Arthur's round table shows up. It seems like every few pages another character is showing up. In another story, that would seem to be too much, but it's all done pretty well here.

The...more
HeavyReader
I found this story really hard to follow. The drawings are all in black and white, and the male characters look really similar, making it difficult for me to remember who's who. Not exactly my cup of tea, but not terrible either.
Paul Mirek
Colleen Doran's classicist b&w pencils are the main attraction here--the narrrative simply offers a possible context, but it's just as easy to enjoy many of these pages as individual works of art on adistantsoil.com. Plus, Doran throws so much at the wall to see if it sticks--sinister conspiracy, teenage drama, space opera, Arthurian myth--that if you're getting bored, you can just skip ahead a few pages to find something different.

The plot proper revolves around Liana and Jason, two psychic...more
Nytetyger
I first read this as an addition to another comic I was reading at the time-- it was the pencils, enclosed as a free trial.... and then when that company produced a few issues, I eagerly grabbed them... and then it stopped in MID STORY LINE!

Then I saw it again years alter in a graphic novel paperback... bought those... but then could not find it and again never got to the end of the story.

THIS version has some updated text, although I'm not really thrilled with some changes to the art, I can und...more
Elizabeth Reuter
Colleen Doran is a fan of many geeky things: superheroes, shoujo manga, sci-fi, epic fantasy, galaxy-spanning romance. When she began A Distant Soil over twenty years ago as a kid, she put all of them into it. Which could have been a wreck, but thankfully turned out innovative instead.

The beautiful, psychic Ovanon have spent centuries spreading across the galaxy, enslaving other alien races. Now they've arrived on Earth, unaware that earlier Ovanon exiles and explorers, some with children, are a...more
Eoghann Irving
I recognize that A Distant Soil is a highly significant comic book for several reasons including its self-published status and having same gender couples as prominent characters. And so for those reasons I would probably recommend that people read this for themselves.

Unfortunately at least for me, this doesn't have much else to recommend it. I like a lot of Colleen Doran's artwork, but not this early stuff. I find it too stiff and cold and a lot of the characters faces are very samey.

To make mat...more
Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian  http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/


I've read Colleen Doran's A Distant Soil since it premiered in the back of Elfquest in the 1980s and was glad to see it reprinted again in a collected trade paperback. It's now available to a whole new audience to really get into and enjoy.

When it debuted, it was by far one of the most original and intriguing comic stories I had ever read. A huge cast of characters, from all kinds of genres and backgrounds (fantasy, urban...more
Sarah
It's hard to review this book objectively as I felt I was travelling back in time to when I was a teenager in the eighties, with all the disorientation and nostalgia that would involve. This is the kind of sprawling, epic SF comic I loved back then and it's very much of its time, from the illustration style to the fashions the characters wear. As I read it I alternated between cringing at how dated it was and relishing the retro feel.

The illustrations are beautifully detailed, some in an elabor...more
Ryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John
It's hard to believe that I've been following this series for 22 years now, and this is the first time I have re-read this material since its first publication in the early Nineties. While some of the art is dated (that hair! those clothes!), the story is strong, although it doesn't go very far in this initial volume. The extensive restoration of the material looks great, and I look forward to reading the rest as A Distant Soil finally moves toward its long-delayed conclusion.
Amal El-Mohtar
I REALLY like this! Oh man it is SO '80s it's amazing, and is doing ALL THE THINGS, and the men are SO PRETTY and look like ladies and it makes me happy that they do, and there are loads of brown people, and it hits all my kids-with-powers-on-the-run buttons (I have a lot of buttons!) and it's just super enjoyable and the art is like if Aubrey Beardsley were born in the late '60s and it's just so coooool.

I want to read more! More more more!
Sarah Churchill
Switching scenes between 80s America, outer-space and the time of King Arthur, wevisit each just enough to invest in the story, without time to fully understand what's happening. This propelled me through the volume, filled with curiosity.

The art is beautiful, and it's great to see a 're-mastered' edition of a classic graphic novel that I wasn't around to experience the first time around.
J
This was heck of big fun. The art's fabulous, the story somehow took me back to my teenage years...it's a wild, sprawling, dramatic, magic-filled space opera with pretty people who have pretty hair. The look (and some of the tech) reminded me strongly of 80s fashion and media, especially the TV show Jem. Remember Jem? That was fun. And so is this.
Lewis Manalo
There's something so irresistibly sincere in the craziness if this sci-fi comic book. With a cast of dreamy boys, one of whom loses all of his clothes when he uses his powers, ADS has a clear target audience, but if you accept it for the fantasy that it is, anyone can get caught up in this story.
Sara Braun
I highly recommend "A Distant Soil". I have been in love with it for years.....if only I could find out what happens to Liana and the rest of the cast! The story has been on a long hiatus....
Rich
This was quirky and fun, and had a definite "feminine" vibe to it - something refreshing in sci-fi.
Susan
re-read 4/12/2013
I'd *really* like to buy the new edition... checking amazon.com gc balance...
Catherine
Beautifully drawn story with intricate world-building. A personal fave.
S.I.O.B.H.A.N=
amazing gay gender queer graphic novel series
Nicola Mansfield
This is a restored and remastered definitive edition of this classic graphic novel. Self-published in 1987 and re-issued by Image Comics in 1997; this new edition even has a digitized font made up from Duran's hand lettering in the original editions. This is my first time reading the book so I'm unable to compare the editions but will give my opinion on the story itself. Colleen first started this comic when she was a teenager herself and part of its charm comes from that because an accomplished...more
Traci  Fields
This is a 1990's era space opera that never gets old for me, because the characters and the setting resonate for me on every level. I give this book five stars even though the later books are actually much better. You can't get to them without this one, since it spends a lot of time setting everything up. You start with Liana and Jason in some kind of institute where they are experimented upon. But they break out, and Jason is then captured by aliens. It's a roller coaster from there. Arthurian...more
Mel
When I was a teenager I collected the original comics of a Distant Soil and when it was re-released as An Immigrant's song I collected that too. Reading this volume was odd as so much was different to the way I remembered it. Jason and Beys seemed to have a lot less prominence (as did Bast). But I liked the story starting with Jason and Liana escaping and the introduction of the other characters. The two wandering around the mall looking for people to join their rebellion felt kinda pathetic and...more
Traci  Fields
First read this when I was about 12, and just got back into it. Feels like meeting an old friend. This book has its flaws in stylistic changes, but the characters haunt you. They really get under your skin. This is not a quick read. So if you don't want to make a commitment, this is probably not a series for you. It's not a quick read. This book will make you dive into a world of over the top drama, aliens with incredible hair, great costumes, and world conflict. One of my favorite books. As in,...more
Anthony Bello
The art is great, but I could only get into two or three characters.
Eva
Liked it better than when I was younger, still way too confusing. Looks like it could have influenced Elfquest stylistically, both in fashion and comic design (the High Ones dress like the aliens and the random bolded words and names in the narration).
Stacey
I tried to get through this, I really did. But, after reading the first installment, it just wasn't working. For some reason, comics/books with otherworldly/alien creatures never seem to quite make sense to me.
Angel Catharian
Great artwork, but the dated style really bugged me. Story didn't make much sense either and I just didn't love it.
Tammy
I found the different storylines to be hard to follow.
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