There are certain places in the world that seem to have a life of their own and the same can be said in fiction. Places like Gotham City feel like they’re alive, as if they’re testing the people who live within them. A city can become a character in its own right, and that is the case in Paradiso #1, written by Ram V. A young man named Jack Kryznan has business in the high-tech metropolis of Paradiso, but he’s one of many people with an interest in the city and there’s a lot of mystery surrounding it.
Kryznan arrives in Aquarius Point, looking to hitch a ride into Paradiso. Kryznan, a former tinkerman’s apprentice, trades a tinkerman’s journal for safe passage into the city. The world has been damaged by an event called ‘The Midnight’ and people spend their time salvaging scrap and trying to piece together the past of their ancestors. Paradiso represents the dream of a better life and can be described as a metaphor for the American Dream.
After Kryznan gets to Paradiso, he shouts a welcome to the city and Paradiso greets him in return. He has a run in with a local protection force that reminded me of Jules Verne’s characters. The steampunk crossed with sci-fi is an interesting combination that made me want to read on.
As it’s the first issue, a lot of world building is going on. The reader is an observer to Krynzan’s plight as opposed to empathising with him. We see his journey develop at a slow pace as the writer focuses on setting up the environment. There’s a lot of intrigue about the story that will keep the reader wanting to come back for the second issue.
The art is beautiful, with every character rendered in great detail. My favourite art involved a splash of Paradiso, with its tall buildings and unique architecture. The colour is stunning, thanks to the efforts of artist Devmalya Pramanik and colourist Dearbhla Kelly.
Ram’s writing is engaging, with him creating a diverse cast of characters. One of the most interesting is a woman called Noira. Her wide-eyed enthusiasm about the prospect of living in Paradiso one day is a feeling that’s felt around the world by people who want to aspire to be better.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ram and Dearbhla at Travelling Man in Manchester. Both of them were passionate about the comic and it’s clear they love the medium. Paradiso #1 is an impressive debut and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the second issue.
Paradiso #1 is available in stores now.