Written by Ted Naifeh
Art by Ted Naifeh
Published by Oni Press
Release Date: 9/7/2016
From creator Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Princess Ugg), comes the new fantasy series from Oni Press, Night’s Dominion. If you have never read any of Naifeh’s previous works, I suggest you start with Princess Ugg, a brilliant series that earned this sites “Best All-Ages” title of 2014. With the first issue slated to come out this September, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy. Here are my thoughts.
Solicited as a dark fantasy, Night’s Dominion is set in the ancient city of Umber, where an undeniable wealth gap exists. This sets the stage for our five main characters, as they conspire to infiltrate the tower of Uhlume, a heavily guarded monument where allegedly there are countless treasures hidden away. Bard (or Maestro as he is referred to) has gathered four others that include a cleric, an asp, and an alchemist. It is the fifth player however that is the most intriguing as a barmaid is introduced, who if you look for clues early on (as our Bard enters the city), her repertoire is quickly revealed.
The Bard seems to be the unspoken leader of these usual suspects that he has rounded up from in and around the region. By appearance his character at first reminded me of Gandalf because of the pipe, but without all the wizardry, and instead of his staff he carries his instrument of course. Emrane the barmaid is without a doubt the most appealing character, and I look forward to learning more about her reveal as the story progresses. There is also an assassin, an alchemist and a cleric involved in this plot, and Naifeh later throws in villain to the equation, making Umber feel like it could be an ancient Gotham, with the city corrupting and dividing its people leading to the tension and desperation we witness in these early pages . As usual, it takes me a read or two to get comfortable with the Naifeh dialect, but once the reader adjusts the language is pretty straightforward. The art is a bit darker but still unmistakably Naifeh, as he also provides the colors to go along with his illustrations and writing of course.
Recently we have seen stories like 4 Kids Walk into a Bank and the Netflix hit phenomenon Stranger Things, where both start off with a group of kids playing a role-playing game much like Dungeons and Dragons. Well Night’s Dominion could well be that fantasy game we have all imagined once before, only from the mind of Naifeh as he brings those inspirations to life in the pages of this first issue the way that he does best, with great character development and superb world-building. There is something intriguing about adding a superhero element in dark fantasy setting, and I for one cannot wait to discover what lies ahead in Naifeh’s latest quest.
Diamond Code (Cover A): JUL161777
Diamond Code (Cover B INCV): JUL161778
REVIEW: NIGHT’S DOMINION #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)