Comicbook Review: “Balsamus, Chapter 2: The Tree” (Karolyne Rocha)

Summary: The brothers are now making a move on the walled city of Nuri. The Kayhans are now ready to pounce the most treasured place in the City, the Great Golden Temple of Namu. Things are going smoothly according to plan. But is it? Aside from an internal turmoil within the group, a distraction that made Akiva paused. Is this distraction a bad omen that will foil their plan?

Cover Art: I love this cover art. I love how the protagonist holding the lamp revealing the ancient carving of the “Tree” hovering over. Feels like it’s following the character and like a monster ready to jump on him. It’s not the usual movie poster style the shows the characters and not much of the story inside. It may show you what to expect inside the book but still it doesn’t spoil it. The cover also brings some dose of curiosity. That’s the purpose of the cover art. Cover art is not just a display of the artwork but also tease the story you’ll about to dive in as you start opening the comicbook.

Artwork: Rocha continues to amaze me. I find the last two books’ power energizing this third installment. This is the combination of the two books. She showcase her art in an expanded version of the two previous installments specially the second book that left wanting (story and art wise). Rocha presented ample servings of her talent in this comic on ancient architecture, places and people while still remaining manga. She is not planning to stop in bringing the good stuff here (and I hope for future issues).

She also make use of the homage reminiscing what she employed in first book as Akiva drifts into his thoughts. The wall engravings are a treat to look at.

Storytelling: The story moves forward here presenting what the brothers had planned in the last issue. Although (spoiler) there is no action here, it’s a dialogue driven book. It’s not that this book will overwhelm you with big chunks of speech bubbles. This issue doesn’t feel like a catch up, that it will hurriedly give you everything. The dialogues are flowing smoothy, not too chunky but enough like what we have seen in the previous issues. The story is still satisfying specially the ending part which an unusual reveal as Akiva remembers an all familiar story and the origin of their curse. So the end part is the continuation of the origin story presented in the premiere issue.

This issue expands what has already covered in the two previous books. It’s not not a leap but expand. This is not to say that their is nothing much this issue to offer. Of course, the brothers are off to the city that they are spying on. In the later part, reveals the soft side of Akiva with a conversation with someone and leaves a conspiratorial sub-plot that will linger to the following issue (I hope). Needless to say what lacks on the second issue, you’ll get it here and what the first issue delivered you’ll find an extension here.

The conversation might be unnecessary but as the story progresses, Rocha did a great move that is a hands down for me. If your looking something that will connect the story (a bit) with the Bible then the end is takeaway. Initially, I thought that it will be just a story of redemption as promised in the first issue. Somewhat emulating the gospel. I’m glad their is a biblical connection that add some spice on the story. Rocha can (I hope) incorporate it in succeeding issues bringing some familiarity in the book. The cliffhanger might not gave me a bang but definitely a good one that delivers a some kind of dread for the character that makes me crave for the next issue.

My verdict: A much better issue than the last one, The Tree proves that Rocha is still on top by providing a solid story and superb illustration. As I have mentioned already, the comic moves forward a bit but still a great read. Rocha is starting to ground this on biblical territory and I’m thrilled to see this progress.

5 of out 5

Buy a copy of this comicbook by following this link.

Check out my review of issue 1 and 2 of Balsamus here.

(Did you enjoy what you read? Did this article helped you? If yes, you can say “Thank you” by sharing 10 Pesos or more at my G-Cash or Paymaya account: Marianito Gonzales – 09163315535. For international friends, head over this link to buy me a coffee.)

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