Review – This Land #1 and #2
Published By Aroha Comics
What if you had the powers of a God? What if those God’s wanted that power back? THIS LAND.
An Axeland woman who must assemble a ragtag group of mercenaries and escort a vessel of the Māori god Tāne through a new world in search of the Demigod Māui.
It is a heroes journey of discovering their place in a vibrant new world, rich in culture, danger, and mystery!
Aroha Comics has very kindly provided BGCP with a free preview copy of issues #1 and #2 of This Land, They’ll also be interviewed shortly on BGCP Disassembled Podcast!
Mark Abnett must be so frustrated with the world’s fixation of three key mythologies for hero telling (Greek, Roman and Norse!) He’s proud of his roots in New Zealand and THIS LAND opens my eyes to the amazing world of Aotearoa mythology! The world of the te reo and their Gods is passionately brought to life with a super-hero slant and on his home page Mark spoke about his frustrations and why he had started this:
After living in Scotland for the past 7 years I realised that despite being surrounded by history very few people in the U.K. actually knew theirs. In fact, the NZ school system had taught me better about British History than theirs had! This got me thinking about why was this the case and why did I not remember NZ History to the same degree. I grew up in the Pākehā middle class in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton and attended Fairfield Intermediate and Hamilton Boys High School. NZ History wasn’t even an option till Seventh Form!
My recollection of Māori legends was limited to Peter Gossage’s picture books in primary school. I had virtually no grasp of Te reo aside from kia ora and kapai so why was that?
Looking at Aotearoa from afar I see so many potential opportunities where my younger self could have been exposed and educated in the history of my country rather than been given lip service and more than often treated with conscious/unconscious racism. I’m interested in telling stories that show Māori myths and legends’ as important to the identity of all New Zealanders whether we’re Māori, Pākeha, or Tauiwi. I’ve created a new world where our people are using the lessons and legends of the past to guide them (literally in some cases) to a better tomorrow. I grew up with Tintin and Asterix books and somehow still remember French and Latin words from those books and believe that comics are the perfect medium to subtly introduce te reo Māori for another generation. Not only for the children of New Zealand but potentially for a global audience as well.Mark Abnett, Aroha Comics
Hell’na, Daughter of Axeland must lead a group of mercenaries against her own people to clear her name and bring her whanau (family) back from the edge of death. Abnett’s not lulling anybody into this story slowly and we start high in the action as Hell’na knocks out a god who fell from the sky. The God can only speak to Hell’na and she recruits a rag-tag team of Aotearoa mercenaries to break him out and cross the territories to find the Trixter god!
Mark writes with pride and humour, two things that sometimes do not go together in comics. I amazed by the strong, vibrant heroine he’s created and the amazing diverse team she quickly recruits!
P.R. Dedelis is doing an amazing job with the artwork in these two issues! The vibrant colours bring the characters to life and the attention to details faithfully creates a rich tapestry for the story to walk through. Each character is unique but you can see the subtle references and hints at a shared heritage!
The use of double-wide splash pages draw you into the action and you need to read them
This Kickstarter has a noble ideal, to embed and create pride in Kiwi and Māori children, and to fund other issues colouring and expanding the storyline!
I give this a perfect 100% across the board for writing and design, as a result I’m furiously looking up Māori mythology in Wiki and other sites, be sure to leave a comment if you enjoyed our Review of This Land #1 and #2.
Thanks to Mark and the team for the book to review and be sure to check out our Podcast Interview with him here
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