Self/Made #1 is a comic book series written by Mat Groom, illustrated by Eduardo Ferigato, colored by Marcelo Costa, lettered by Troy Peteri of A Larger World Studios, and edited by Kyle Higgins. It is published by Image Comics. The first issue, titled “The Final Confrontation”, takes place in the kingdom of Arcadia. For decades, Arcadia has maintained peace, adhering to a strict code of hierarchy and tradition. But in the wake of a horrific battle with the sorcerer Teronak, Arcadian warrior Amala Citlali embarks on a quest to find the man responsible-though she may come face to face with some rather unsettling truths along the way.
Self/Made is a wonderfully written and wonderfully illustrated book. The danger of writing a fantasy-themed story is that the tropes in this genre tend to be a well-worn road yet Groom manages to subvert them in brilliant ways. For example, the knight in shining armor turns out to be a colossal douchebag. The wizard character, often full of sage advice and shouting spells, is entirely mute. However, what REALLY sells the story is the twist at the end. Readers will be left scratching their heads and saying “did that really happen?” But I’m willing to bet that they will also pick up the next issue to find out. All I can say is that this series is essentially a cross between Lord of the Rings and Westworld. Make what you will of that.
Groom’s script is brought to life by Ferigato’s art. The sheer scope of this world is staggering, and our characters, Amala, in particular, are distinctly designed. The mark of a good fantasy story is the ability to display a wide variety of creatures, warriors, and landmarks; luckily Ferigato more than succeeds in that regard. His artwork feels extremely cinematic-at times. I felt like I was looking at the storyboards of a blockbuster movie rather than the pages of a comic. Costa’s colors add to that film-like quality. There are moments where sunlight pierces through the windows of a palace, a dragon races through snow-covered mountains and Amala relives a brutal, blood-drenched memory. You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the page.
A great deal of credit, however, should go to Higgins. Best known for his stellar runs on Nightwing and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, here he steps into the role of editor-and pulls it off wonderfully. Editors are the unsung heroes of the comic book world. They often match artists to writers, find new talent, help shape the book into the best version it can possibly be, and make sure the book gets out on time. Higgins has managed to shoulder this Herculean task, and I look forward to any further editorial endeavors he might take on in the future.
Overall, Self/Made #1 is a wonderful entry into the fantasy/sci-fi genre, put together by a top-shelf creative team. I’m looking forward to what Groom and Ferigato bring us in future issues.
Self/Made #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Self/Made #1 is a wonderful entry into the fantasy/sci-fi genre, put together by a top-shelf creative team.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.