The saying may be that you should not judge a book by its cover but I’ll gladly admit to judging comic books, in part, by the art. Graphic novels and comic books are for me about the experience and immersion. The ability to get lost in a story comes down to the plot, the dialog, the characters and the visuals.
I was more than a little cautious when an offer to review Nova Phase popped into my inbox. It was described as “8-bit”. It’s certainly a style very similar from 80s style arcades.
I think calling Nova Phase 8-bit does it disfavour. I’ve not counted all the colours to see if any of the issues could, in theory, be done with just 8-bits but the detail in some of the panels would make actual animation problematic. I understand why 8-bit is used as the descriptor. Nova Phase is a story that works when the reader is inclined to think of old school computer game adventures.
So why does Nova Phase work? The characters are catchy and either immediately likable or baddies you’ll take seriously.
The plot is straight forward too. We’re dealing with bounty hunters, who are definitely good people and with relatable ambitions and dreams. There’s an approaching warlord with a fleet of spaceships.
I don’t mean to mistake “straight forward” plot for boring plot either. I’ve only looked at the first two issues of Nova Phase so we’re still building up the characters and setting the scene. What makes the straight forward approach work is that sci-fi and comic book fans will naturally begin to speculate what happens next. Just how do our bounty hunters and freelancers end up in conflict with the incoming fleet and soldiers? What could the good guys expect to do against such a foe?
Nova Phase is heavy with good storytelling. As a result you buy into the story and want to know what happens next. I’m sure that anyone who downloaded the first issue (free) and then splashed out the mighty 99 cents necessary to secure the second issue that they’ll be buying issue 3 (due out this month) and number 4 (in April). The series is available is available on Comixology.
So there you have it – you’ve good art that just so happens to be in the “8-bit” style and you’ve good storytelling. The result is a good comic series. Nova Phase is well worth a download. Not downloading the first and free issue strikes me as silly.
My copy of Nova Phase was provided for review.