Sonata #3 // Review
A couple of people from rival communities are stranded on the other side of the world. With one who has been ordered to kill them. Two rival rulers come together in hopes of finding them in the third issue of Sonata. The writer David Hine and writer/artist Brian Haberlin continue an exploration of their distinctive fantasy world aided by the beautiful work of colorist Geirrod Van Dyke. While the story doesn’t have a great deal to offer that hasn’t already seen presented in a sci-fi fantasy world before. However, Hine, Haberlin and Van Dyke continue to put together a fun fantasy adventure.
Sonata the Ran and Pau the Tayan are lost in the middle of nowhere. Pau’s communicator may be their only link to civilization, but it’s scarcely of use. Due to their giant ogre-like Lumani friend crushing it with his massive hand. The only way to the place where the three of them are stranded is across a plane of sleeping giants. Any attempt to rescue Sonata and Pau would place people in danger. Nevertheless, the Lumani agree to aid leaders of the Ran and the Pau to save their lost citizens. But the Lumani might have ulterior motives in aiding royalty of the two invasive civilizations.
Hine and Haberlin slowly set things in motion in a calmly paced suspense fantasy chapter. Sonata and Pau clash a bit. There’s a strong, simplistic contrast between Sonata of the peace-loving Ran and Pau of the warlike Tayans that is charming nevertheless. There’s a tingle of real emotion as the two express conflicting cosmologies in casual conversation in the middle of nowhere. Having had some time to develop, there’s some sophistication beyond the simplicity in characterization. As the three different cultures interact, the Lumani aren’t a noble savage stereotype. Both Pau and Tayan cultures have flaws and virtues. There is just enough complexity in the details to keep the story interesting.
Hine’s rendering of the drama of the book rests mostly on the faces of the characters. There’s impressive emotional detail etched across the faces of the characters for the most part. There’s even a surprising range of emotion in the inhuman faces of the Lumani. The drama is rooted in a solidly dynamic physical action that punctuates the issue. An encounter with a Sleeper giant once again shows off the ability of colorist Geirrod Van Dyke to deliver an overwhelming sense of immensity in the creatures with subtle variation in color to amplify the perspective. Van Dyke’s colors lend a sense of soul to the luminosity of the Lumani’s eyes. There’s a gorgeously atmospheric sense to the backgrounds thanks to Van Dyke’s colors. A distant mountain range and a gorgeous star-scape rest in the background of the desolation that Sonata and Pau inhabit. There’s a muted beauty to that desolation.
It’s a bit jarring to try to reconcile the complexity of the art with the stark simplicity of the story of Sonata. The fantasy world brought to the page in the art has a depth of realism that isn’t totally supported by uncluttered dialogue and internal monologue. It delivers an easy story free from the messy inconsistencies of life. Given subtle and growing deviations from tropes and stereotypes in the ensemble of the book, there IS some foreshadowing into something deeper on the horizon as Sonata continues to get off the ground in future issues.