by Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland & Sloane Leong
In it’s second issue; From Under Mountains continues to be a strange, challenging and beautiful fantasy book that is simply too engrossing to be ignored. In a time when comics feel more eclectic then ever before, From Under Mountains stands apart as one of the best and most unique new series of 2015.
Issue two of From Under Mountains continues to flesh out it’s world and build upon it’s narrative as it focuses on a funeral and royal family in mourning at the plots center. Perhaps the strongest element of Claire Gibson & Marian Churchland’s writing here is the depth in their character work. While fantasy genre tends to focus on it’s mythology and plot movement to the occasional detriment of it’s protagnist, From Under Mountains already feels like it has a rich and engaging cast who each bring a unique perspective on the books events. It keeps the story grounded in a good way by not taking anything away from the comics overarching complexity in it’s setting. There is a strong equilibrium between the world building and character work that manages the fine balance of having both elements feel fully realized.
A good part of the former can be attributed to artist Sloane Leong whose visual story telling continues to astonish in it’s imagination and detail. Leong has a rough line that gives the book a sort of borderline surrealism but never veers to far off the central narrative of the series. She will go in between a sort of free flowing illustration style to more traditional grid panels and the mixes the styles up from page to page. One page has thirteen panels with a nine panel grid in it’s center while another has three panels moving down diagonally with it’s background illustrations telling a separate story in a more free flowing style for broader context of plots present state. Leong also does stunning naturalism in her scenery and gives the book a vibrant color scheme. From Under Mountains is a great story that becomes something more from Leong’s wonderful art bringing it’s world to life.
From Under Mountains continues to follow through on it’s promise with one of the interesting and enjoyable new comics that re-imagines fantasy tropes into something completely new and vital. Don’t sleep on this series as it’s doing something truly special.