A few months ago I mentioned that 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 issues #0-2 of Portal Bound, I was quite excited. So much so, that I’m here with issues #3 and 4.
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 colors 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 #2 ended with the confused sidekick, Brett, starting to fuse with his Havos counterpart, who just happens to be a mercenary in that world. Eli tackles him, breaking the connection, and our protagonists use the momentary disorientation to escape through a portal back to Earth.
While there, Eli shows an excited and bewildered Riley around his little slice of Earth. We get a flashback to the late Horuk’s lab and his early work with Riley on the portal technology. Once they created a portal, the first person to come through it was a scientist from Earth who helped the team learn and further develop their theories. That scientist was, of course, Eli’s missing father Daniel who eventually fused with his royal alternate.
As issue #3 comes to a close, Sybil returns to Havos, destroying the portal equipment behind her and stranding the others on Earth. But as issue #4 rolls around Eli and friends break into his father’s locked study, where Riley is able to open a portal back to Havos. Over the course of the issue, Sybil is betrayed, Omiel forcibly fuses with Brett and turns Riley over to the king. Finally, the king’s scientists use a neural hack to use Riley’s knowledge to finish their own portals, and the invasion of Earth begins.
Mark Roslan and Gabe Carrasco Continue to have a great story going on, and I’m excited to see where the last two issues lead. 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. Alex Arizmendi gets a few pages of assistance from Marco Renna on pencils and digital inks on both issues, and the change was virtually seamless.
My only artistic complaint, more of a slightly annoying observation really, is Riley. Riley, of Havos, is very noticeably a person of color, but that’s not the problem. Brett, of Earth, is also a person of color, again not a thing. Omiel, Brett’s alternate on Havos, would therefor also be a PoC yet he is racially indistinct from every other person we’ve seen on Havos, having the same whitish-purple skin and Havos-typical hair color. Riley, on the other hand, looks distinctly like a human PoC, to the point of she fit right in on earth by just changing clothes. Representation is important, but so is artistic consistency. There is simply no reason presented for the complete departure of the established continuity and character style. If that changes in the next two issues, I will happily accept the reasons and come back to this point to apologize. But for now, this just sticks out for me like a Delorian in the old west, but they don’t have to hide it for some reason.
This still gets a solid 4 out of 5, with two issues left in the series.
Be sure to check out Aspen Comics ONLINE HERE.