Backways #1 (Aftershock Comics)
There are magical worlds just under our noses, but what is someone to do when their best friend gets lost there? That’s the premise behind Justin Jordan and Eleonora Carlina’s Backways, which has a lot of gorgeous art, but doesn’t do quite enough narratively to move the needle for me.
Anna’s friend Sylvia has gone missing and Anna believes that she’s somewhere out in the world, just hidden from sight. Her recent search brings her in contact with the mysterious Coyote Bones, a very talkative witch who introduces her to the Backways, a mysterious area unseen to the human eye that is home to all manner of mystical and magical creatures. Coyote tells Anna that her friend is somewhere here, but can she really be trusted?
It’s clear that Justin Jordan is having fun writing these characters, especially Coyote Bones, but he spends a little too much time on the mystery of Sylvia and not enough setting up the Backways. The issue ends with a huge splash page of the Backways, and leaves you wanting more, which is a great thing most of the time, but here it’s just frustrating. If there was ever an issue that deserved a few more pages, it’s this one.
If we got additional pages, we’d also get more of Eleonora Carlina’s incredible artwork, which is truly something to behold. Aftershock Comics hasn’t been holding back on the art for their books, and this is easily one of the best looking books they’ve put out. Carlina shows off fantastic creature designs, expressive human faces, and massive, multiple character splash pages with ease. If Backways doesn’t land her on a major title in the next few years, I’ll eat every issue of this series.
While Backways wasn’t as compelling as I was hoping, there are some pretty interesting ideas here for fans of magical stories. If anything, it’s worth picking up for the gorgeous artwork, which needs to be seen to be believed. As a new title in a sea of other magic based comics, Backways doesn’t really enough to stand out, but it’s a fantastic debut for the up and coming Carlina.