The Mighty Zodiac #1
Writer: J. Torres
Artist: Corin Howell
Colourist: Maarta Laiho
Letterer: Warren Wucinich
Publisher: Oni Press
A review by Amelia Wellman
When the Blue Dragon dies, the Eastern sky is left unprotected and six stars fall out of the night sky. To stop the stars from falling into the malevolent Moon Rabbit’s hands, the Mighty Zodiac Warriors are ordered to gather the stars and restore the light, for without the stars, the darkness threatens to destroy their world.
The first issue of The Mighty Zodiac introduces us to all the warrior characters, which are the animals of the zodiac. Interestingly, they’ve made the rabbit the outside antagonistic force and included the cat (who is often the outsider) in the main twelve. It leads me to believe that this is the Vietnamese zodiac and not the Chinese zodiac being portrayed and that’s something you don’t see too often. There’s not too much to the story yet as there were numerous characters to introduce all at once, but from what’s seen here in issue one this is a fantastical world with magic and mythology and a huge adventure just about to burst.
The major players that this issue introduces us to are the warriors and they’re scattered all over the land of Gaya. The sheep and the monkey are together and appear to have a mother-child sort of bond. The oxen and the boar have a travelling caravan, while the snake seems to be the Zodiac Master’s assistant. I’m curious of the rat and tiger’s relationship as we’re introduced to them with the tiger bundled up in a net and the rat sitting on its back. The group most focused on this issue is that of the horse, cat, dog, and rooster. They’re played up as a little inept and are mocked, even though other animals are aware of their Zodiac Warrior positions. What’s so superbly done with all these introductions is that you get a real sense of individuality and personality from all the characters. Aside from the cat, dog, horse, and rooster, each of the other animals only get a few panels to themselves, but so much of who they are comes out and I’m excited to see where the story will take them all and how they’ll evolve.
The art in The Mighty Zodiac is a delight to look at. Comics with animal leads can sometimes become a muddled mess as the animal features are roughly fused with humanoid bodies, but The Mighty Zodiac handles its all-animal world with ease. The aspects of each animal are distinct on their humanoid bodies with none of the characters looking like they’d be more comfortable on Doctor Moreau’s island. The overall style is cartoony, colourful, expressive, and has a younger-audience energy, which is by no means a bad thing. I found the backgrounds a little lacking in finer details but that’s a stylistic choice and will probably make for better action scenes in later issues.
Buy it! The idea of the zodiac is used amazingly in both the story and the art with this world of animal tribes and warriors. Using the rabbit as an antagonistic force instead of the cat is an interesting turn of events and the art is charming. Plus, its straight forward approach to the story will make it easy for little ones to enjoy as well!