As you all know I'm fully committed to elevating indie comics and creators, not just from Truthful Comics; but EVERY INDIE COMICS STUDIO (except Comicsgate)! With that said, tonight I'm doing just that and we're going review Gravestone: Dark Origins issues 0 - 3. Starting from the packaging, Utopixia Studios puts out a high quality product all the way around. The books printing looks beautiful, each book was bagged and boarded, there were stickers and even a letter addressing the reader and thanking them for giving Utopixia Studios a chance; that's how you gain new readers. Gravestone was created by Danny "Dancore" Jiménez. The series is written by Eric "Elrick" Ramos, illustrated by Danny "Dancore" Jiménez and colored by Wilfredo Lopez Centeno.
The first thing that stands out to me about Gravestone: Dark Origins Is that we follow the villain of the story, or at least an anti-hero at best! He's searching for the same things the "heroes" are, but he's doing it for his own purposes. Gravestone observes and rules his section of the Underworld with an iron fist, summoning his minions to do his biding and feeding from humans as he desires. Another thing that stands out to me about Gravestone is how powerful he is. When you see powerful demons and creatures are tearing soldiers limb from limb, when you see them being unharmed by weapons of any kind and you see powerful beings and monsters are basically Gravestone's minions, it gives you a sense of exactly what type of being were dealing with.
I use to have many names. Most recently, I go by the name Tom B. Stone. Remember those times you were afraid of something lurking under your bed? That soft voice that pushed you to do all those nasty things you later regretted? That was me. My strength lies within humans. They feed me. I dare you to make a wish... I might be near and grant it. Are you willing to pay the price?
You can tell this story was well thought out for a long time. Gravestone's backstory, his motivations and his powers are clearly defined; as well as each and every other character in the series... heroes and villains. Not only that, the writer presents a wide variety of characters to the reader, a well defined universe (or worlds) they can really sink their teeth into and it all flows beautifully. Gravestone: Dark Origins is an action/adventure comic book series with deep horror elements in it as well. It reminds me of those old Mummy movies with Brendan Frazier, Indiana Jones or even Tomb Raider; all mixed in with many supernatural elements. Demons, gods, paramilitary forces, scholars... this book reads like an angry demon that grabs on to you and doesn't let go!
They are on this book is really good and it gets better book after book. The character designs are cool, very distinctive and in some cases horrifying. Gravestone has a great design, he looks dashing and handsome; almost hiding how cold and powerful he truly is. His sleeveless trench coat is a different look that you don't see often, the last time I saw a sleeveless trench coat was when the Ultimate Warrior returned to the WWE back in the early 2000's; loved the look back then and love it now as well. The only complaint I have about the artwork is that there isn't enough of it!
Gravestone: Dark Origins is a fun and engaging read from beginning to end! This isn't your typical "big 2" fluff story that drags on for eight months to give you a disappointing finale; when you read Gravestone: Dark Origins you'll need to clear a few hours from your schedule, sit down and really bury yourself in the story; but by the time you read the third issue there's gonna a satisfying conclusion and a great jump-on point for potential new readers. The twist and turns will keep you guessing until the very end. Eric and Danny are doing it the right way! I highly recommend picking up this series!
This book is a bit different than your average comic, you're consuming the story in comic book format but the interior is more like a prose book with an illustration on each page; which I think works perfect for this story. On the other hand, the format could potentially put off a few comic book readers simply because it's not your typical comic book with multiple panels on each page; it's more of a prose book with a full color illustration on each page. I enjoyed it, but other readers might not; especially those old school comic book readers that are set in their ways and won't accept anything other than what they're used to reading.
The only thing that bothered me a bit was the way certain sentences and paragraphs are stacked on the pages. On some pages they're right, but on other pages there are sentences that are cut off in the middle and continue on next space to the far left; and there are some instances where the sentences are on top of the artwork. It's not a huge deal but when you're reading story with great art, you'll notice something like that real quick; and honestly it's something that can be corrected very easily.
Overall, Gravestone: Dark Origins was a fantastic read! It has a well defined backstory, well developed characters, good art and it gives you something to look forward to in future stories. Is Gravestone a villain? Is he a hero or an anti-hero? Is he a god? To answer those and many other questions you'll need to read Gravestone: Dark Origins!
To stay up to date on everything regarding Utopixia Studios and the Gravestone series visit: www.gravestonecomic.com