One of my more recent comic discoveries is Aspen Comics. (Which is fairly embarrassing, since we often review them here at Geek-o-Rama.) This year marks their 15th anniversary and they show no sign of slowing down. So when the opportunity to review their newest title, Portal Bound, I was quite excited.
Portal Bound takes us into a new world, or more accurately two new worlds. One, is the earth as we know it, as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy, Eli. Eli is hardly hero material, he’s quiet, nerdy, and as unassuming as a teen can get. The second is Havos. In theory, Havos and Earth are the same, like two sides of a coin. The colours are wrong, the technology is wrong, and the people are wrong, but they remain inexorably bound together. In Havos we meet Princess Sybil, strong-willed and outspoken, with a warrior’s heart. She is everything Eli is not, yet they too are bound together.
Issue #0 gives readers the whole setup. We meet Sybil, and the various members of her family. We learn her father has changed, but don’t learn why or how. We get to watch Eli be Eli and meet his smart-alec friend Brett. We find out that Havos and Earth are alternate versions of the other, complete with alternate versions of the people there. It’s everything you would expect from a debut issue, but with a much shorter page count, and subsequently smaller price (free on Comixology).
Issue #1 continues on as Havos’ problem spill into Earth, and we get our first opportunity to see Sybil and Eli fuse into a single kickass entity. It’s a bit like if Spock and Mirror World Spock joined and became Firestorm. But without the goatee.
Issue #2 sends our protagonists (or is it protagonist, singular? Fusing people into one body is grammatically confusing.) back to Havos, but not before Eli’s mother wants to know why there’s a girl in her son’s bedroom. Sybil’s father has put a bounty out on his own daughter, and the issue closes with Eli’s friend, “third stripe red belt” Brett, trying to get himself killed while defending his friends from a bounty hunter.
Mark Roslan and Gabe Carrasco are building a fun story here. Many of the concepts they are working with aren’t really new, but they have been shuffled together into something incredibly entertaining. So far the story has a good flow and the dialog is spot on. Similarly, Alex Arizmendi’s pencils and digital inks work incredibly well, there’s just enough difference in style and texture between the worlds that while Earth feels like Earth, Havos feels even more strange and wonderous.
We are only two issues (plus #0) into this six-issue series and it’s definitely a fun ride. This gets a solid 4 out of 5 and I’m looking forward to more.
Be sure to check out Aspen Comics ONLINE HERE.