Pop Bop's Reviews > Paradiso, Vol. 1: Essential Singularity

Paradiso, Vol. 1 by Ram V
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Good Fun for a Patient Reader

This is a very entertaining post-apocalyptic tale with cyberpunk goodies, an alt-science macguffin, a sentient city, virtually indestructible cyborg guardians, Mad Max style scavengers, a semi-amnesiac hero, double-dealing sidekicks, conflicted villains, and big all-over-the-page style. BUT, the story is non-linear and set up through flashbacks, monologues, expository dialogue, fever dreams, hashed memories, and some puzzling panels that hold clues.

That means that the reader has to be patient, be willing to wait for things to clear up, and often be willing to backtrack and reread parts. I'm usually game for some of that and this was neat enough that I was willing to stretch my patience to the limit. On the upside, just as you get ready to throw in the towel everything comes together well enough, and the action becomes clear enough, that the ride gets easier. Plus, since some of the characters, especially in action scenes, are hard to tell apart, you get familiar enough with them and how they're drawn that they become more recognizable and easily distinguishable at this same point. So after that it's smooth sailing.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this tale, with numerous important characters and lots players at odds with each other. The macguffin looks like an old vacuum tube, but it brings dead tech back to life, and everyone wants it. Where it came from, how it works, why our hero has it - all of this will be answered, if at all, at some later point. In this volume we basically put together our crew of questers, and head off for the heart of Paradiso. Is it like the Wizard of Oz? Well, yeah. But what isn't?

This book started off rather dark. And I mean dark, like shadows, dark colors, and gloomy muddy scenes. Lots of heavy inking, including around the edges of panels and outlining profiles and so on. But, it eventually clears up and/or you get used to it and it stopped being an issue early on. (I'm getting older and I like to be able to see this stuff.) Once I got beyond that I especially appreciated some of the big spreads and full page shots. Paradiso is very cool and I suspect it will be even more vivid and arresting as we get deeper into it.

So, this is a big adventure, with an open, epic sort of feel. I'm keen to keep an eye on where it goes.

(Please note that I had a chance to read a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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