Karas #1

Written by Phil Amara
Penciled by Nuria Peris
Inked by Sergio Sandoval
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

It’s a strange feeling, reading a comic that you don’t realize is supposed to tie into an existing product. Most people who are reading it are already fans of the tie-in property and have an idea of what’s going on, but those who just scoop it up blindly are in for a strange surprise. That was what I thought was going on when I first read Karas from Dark Horse; by the time it was over I was convinced that it was actually connected to a PlayStation2 game. Turns out it’s not. Oops.

In Tokyo, strange humanoid animals are being forced to look for cover as humanity encroaches on their homelands… even as they find themselves hunted within the city streets. Only a doctor named Otoha can stop the forces of evil within the Twilight Tower, for he is the Karas, a magical defender able to transform himself into an armored warrior. What his mystical advisor isn’t telling him, though, will change everything.

Karas is actually a new creative property that’s also going to be an animated series, but even with that in mind it still leaves a lot of big question marks in my mind. The first four pages of the comic seem to have nothing to do with the rest of the comic, with two cops talking about where they’re assigned. Are these characters from the upcoming videos as well? What’s the connection to Otoha turning into Karas and beating up evil creatures? Alone in a void, it comes across as clumsy and a little pointless. The rest of the comic introduces everyone, but no one really seems to have an actual personality; maybe that’s why I was so convinced it was a video game tie-in comic book. They just fight or spout exposition, and that’s really about it.

Nuria Peris and Sergio Sandoval’s art is pleasant enough, if a little uninspired. Being stuck with existing character designs from the upcoming videos means that Peris’s imagination unfortunately doesn’t get much of a workout, but the storytelling moves well enough from one page to the next. It’s an interesting looking book, and I can’t help but wonder if some of the little touches like fish mobiles and spider-webbing straps on clothing are Peris’s ideas or part of the planned videos. The art style itself has some Asian influences, but the cover seems to bear that out the most with a slickness and polish which isn’t as evident in the interiors.

As a prologue to a video series, Karas is an all right book. As a stand-alone book, though, it doesn’t really succeed. There are far more questions than answers provided, which is a pity; there just isn’t enough there to entice me to want to check out the game itself. Still, for preaching to the choir (if there can really be one already existing, since as far as I can tell it’s not actually out just yet), it hits the low marks it was trying for.

5 comments to Karas #1

  • Cassiopeia

    I love the movie… But can anyone tell me the name of the red-headed dude? I think he’s adorable…

  • I think it was Reiji. He WAS adorable. ^^

    People did complain that the plot of the animation was too complicated, but i understood it fine after a second watch. I think we’re just so blown away by the amazing visuals we forgot to follow the story.

  • Oh damn… maybe it was Nue

  • Matthew

    Nue is from the movie followed by Amefuriko the little cute snail youkia. :3

  • Yaw

    The redhead dude was named Nue
    His brother, I forgot his name
    Otoha, the main guy and Eko, the penis-headed evil dude :P