Phenomena: The Golden City of Eyes

Abrams ComicArts. (Phenomena, Bk. 1). Sept. 2022. 144p. ISBN 9781419761690. $24.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
This first volume in an ongoing series merges elements of science fiction and fantasy and introduces a vividly imagined world where armor-clad soldiers wearing jetpacks zip past enormous whale-like creatures floating in the sky above sprawling cities teeming with humans, aliens, and anthropomorphic animals. Guiding readers through this world are a precocious boy named Bolden, an alien paladin named Spike, and an altruistic technology-whiz named Matilde. This mismatched trio’s quest to recover a stolen artifact finds them at odds with a team of superpowered scoundrels called the Magezzztics, narrowly surviving encounters with various ferocious monsters, and finally seeking entry to the City of Golden Eyes, a gigantic fortress that crawls across the world on powerful crab-like legs. Bendis (Goldfish) provides brisk plotting and a light-hearted, swashbuckling tone. Araújo’s (A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance) bold linework, visionary design, and inventive layouts create a sense of breathtaking scale and uncommonly impactful action sequences.
VERDICT Bendis and Araújo have created a fascinating world of adventure, with intriguing mysteries and likable characters galore. A wildly entertaining first installment.
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