It’s been long, since we last reviewed an Indian Comics initiative in detail. If you count-off the old classics like Tinkle and ACK, it’s indeed been quite a long time since we reviewed one such. In fact, it was exactly this same month, a year back, and it was about an initiative from the new kid on the block, Vimanika Comics, talking of their debut release (#0 & #1).
So, it is fitting that, when we thought of reviewing another title to close out the year 2009, we choose the #2 set from their stable, which was released early this year. So, without further adieu, here is the Moksha and The Sixth, with their second instalment.
If you recollect, Moksha #1 detailed the re-entry of Lord Hanuman in the timeless valleys of Hindukush Mountains, as he saves little girl, Indi, and turns the guardian angel for her.
Issue #2, picks up from the plot, where a Darker force re-enters the forbidden valleys, trying to stake its claim as the new master of underworld.
By the time Yamraj knows about this hideous task, the darker force seems to have wasted the guards and retrieves his crown jewel, and makes way for its exit.
When the reserve guards try to unsuccessfully stop him on his course, the dark force is revealed as the Indrajeet, the son of demonic warlord Ravana, who was considered killed for good in the battle depicted in the Ramayana epic.
Meanwhile, distant memories haunt the Hanuman, as the visions of Sita’s trial on the court of Rama, flashes on his mind, as he witnesses the remains of Indi’s father, go up in flames. Hanuman promises that he would be the saviour of Indi, no matter what befalls on her.
Elsewhere, confusion reigns at the deserted plains where the Ashram of the Bhargawas (a sect in Brahmins) is located. The war of words breaks out between the Brahmin sheers, and Parashuram, who has put an halt in there, on his voyage. Brahmins clearly don’t approve of Parashuram’s bloody ways, and call him as a threat to their teachings.
Just as he walks out of the ashram, he witnesses a sudden change in the weather, which forecasts evil. The same is witnessed by Hanuman too from the other side of the plain. Moksha #2 comes to a close, as the untold danger approaches.
Clearly the Moksha #2, is one of the best initiatives to have gone on the Graphic Novels class of India, in the past year. Eventhough, it can’t be termed as a GN, considering that it’s supposed to be a bi-monthly issue, spanning only 32 pages, the concept and the delivery are top-notch.
Guided under the watchful eyes of Karan Vir, the chief visionary of Vimanika, the script of little known Arnab Das, has been vivaciously brought to real life with the art of Dheeraj Verma. No wonder he was rated highly, when he joined Vimanika’s crew.
For examples, look at the depiction of the Hell by Dheeraj, which adorns the first page of the issue. Or the lavishing page, bringing the Court of Rama. The richness shows on the characterizations too, for instance the look of Yamaraj, has been given a touch of class.
At the same time, you can’t help but notice the similarity of Indrajeet’s look, with DC’s The Spectre. But, then again, even if it was intentional, don’t they say “Imitation is the best form of Flattery”? But the core lies, in the way, the character has been given a overhaul, with an Indian panache. Something, which has made it stand-out from the rest.
The creative team has to be commended for mapping a whole new style of story-telling for Moksha. Now only time will tell, whether they would be able to keep the tempo and quality for the further instalments, which are due in the new year.
Recently Moksha was also in the news, as they received the newly constituted Golden Cursor Awards, for the year 2009. So, they have really set some balls rolling with their creation. Let’s hope the momentum is maintained, if not bettered.
The second one from Vimanika is The Sixth, which is supposed to hold the bigger brother status among the two. Did it really live upto the billing? is something which we will judge, after looking into the instalment.
The Sixth #2 continues the adventures and exploits of Karan Vir, as he tries to explore his roots, in order to know the reason behind his mysterious survival, from a terrorist attack on his life, which took place in Chicago Airport (Sixth #1).
On his road trip, Karan is haunted by a mysterious figure in his dreams, which reminds him again about his goal, of finding who he really is. Karan is awaken by a road block, which brings two hooded characters, who are hell bent on teaching him lessons for his intrusions in their land grabbing plans.
He gets an surprise aid from Dev, while despite the injury suffered on the attack, Karan suddenly shows phenomenal strength by stopping a barging tractor. Karan then decides to hire Dev as his bodyguard, and they leave enroute to Bihar, a place which Karan terms as the city of Knowledge and Wisdom.
As the Sixth #2 closes, the scene shifts back to New York City, as a business tycoon, and a supposedly gang lord, named Kuru Pratap Singhania, is introduced as the chief conspirator, behind the land acquisitions happening in the places, where incidentally Karan finds himself.
Frankly speaking, Sixth #2 is a great disappointment to me as a reader. The script certainly, is a big let-down, as there is no connectivity between plots and characters which are interwoven, with a lot of emphasize on action, then storytelling. A Bollywood style entry for Dev, and Singhania, doesn’t help the matter either. Arnab Das, really could have worked harder.
To make things difficult, the artwork of Dheeraj Verma, who did a remarkable work on Moksha #2, fails to live up-to the expectation. Some panels are better illustrated, but the consistency is lagging, throughout this 32 page adventure, which at some places is clearly goes begging, for improvement.
In the end, it seems the overwork of Dheeraj, as he simultaneously had to illustrate both Moksha and Sixth’s instalment, had put the artwork of Sixth wanting (which he admits in his editorial). With the jumbled script, it couldn’t have gone worse.
Neither Arnab or Dheeraj no more work for Vimanika, but, it isn’t the end of the road, as Karan promises that the next issue of Sixth, is going to be a better product. In fact, it would be a full blown Graphic Novel, by the name of Legend of Karna, or LOK, as he likes it to be called.
The issue is currently out, and I had the chance to experience it, and should agree that it’s a phenomenal achievement, way better than any of Vimanika’s earlier attempts. But then again, it’s a topic for a different post, so we will see about that in the new year.
|"Vimanika is pretty careful in not diluting the mythological legends, while devising their plots. In short, they stay close to the source, and invent within a rigid boundaries."|
While taking an overall check, Sixth and Moksha #2, are indeed a way better instalments, despite their shortcoming, then the #1 set which came out last year.
There are some remarkable improvements, especially in the editorial, as the spelling mistakes, which was quite a sore sight in #0 or #1 issues, has now been taken care of, as renowned former Marvel editor, Nel Yamatov, freelanced for the #2 set. But, still those glaring spelling mistakes could be found in the other feature pages, which I am sure wouldn’t have passed Yamatov’s care :).
Both Moksha and Sixth #2 issues are currently available on sale in newsstands, with a bonus free #0 issue accompanying the package. So, pick them up if you would like to catch up on the action, before the #3 issues hit the stands.
Here are the Previews, for Moksha #3 and Sixth #3 (which would incidentally be LOK #1). I will leave to make your call, on the breathtaking Cover arts. I love them, and eagerly looking forward for the same.
With this I end our Vimanika #2 set review post, which had been long pending. I now feel a shy of relief, as I had to come up with a lot of excuses to Karan of Vimanika, for the post’s whereabouts. At the end of the day, whether he would a pleased man, with this review, is something which only he could reveal to all :)And before I close, Wish you all a Happy New Year 2010, my friends.
May more and more comics shower at your doorsteps, and you be richer by more wealth and joy at your disposal :). Remember to spend quality time with your family, but also remember to chase your own dreams, at your own rights.
Here is a Tinkle Greeting, which I received today, and thought would be a nice way to share the joy, with some of the favourite characters, who made our childhood memories sweeter. Adios Amigos !!