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'Zawa + The Belly of the Beast' #1 is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas
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Comic Books

‘Zawa + The Belly of the Beast’ #1 is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas

A visually inventive kickoff to a series you can’t miss.

It’s safe to say Michael Dialynas is one of the most innovative comic artists. He’s created entire worlds and captivated readers, young and old. I’ve been a fan since his series Amala’s Blade back in 2013, and now we have a brand new world written and drawn by him this week called Zawa + The Belly of the Beast. The first issue is a comic I’d recommend to everyone, young and old, especially those captivated by imaginative world building.

Zawa + The Belly of the Beast #1 opens with a man feeding something inside a cage. In front of the cage are the words “Stay Clear” written on the floor with a designated area marked. Whatever is inside is quite dangerous, or so some think. The man feeding the monster is frightened but also wants to help them.

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We then cut to a double-page splash of Mesa’s Boon, a town filled with lights and dark skies. We’re drawn into the world via captions and soon meet Leo, a bit reckless with his motorcycle driving. A cat with bells on its tail pushes a chicken out of the way, and he’s none the wiser. He enters a bakery, and we meet a guy named Bandit, a wizard at baking with strange and random ingredients. As we meet these characters, it’s quite clear from the design and dialogue they’re young, bright-eyed, and open to adventure.

Michael Dialynas on crafting post-apocalyptic cottagecore fairytale 'Zawa + The Belly of the Beast'

Courtesy BOOM! Studios

Quickly, they go on an adventure, entering the mayor’s factory to get more ingredients. It’s clear at this point these young teens want to make the world a better place, one cookie or pastry at a time. The blending of cooking with the darker underbelly of a monster chained up creates an endearing quality. Every panel and page seems to reveal something about this brand-new world, and Dialynas makes you fall in love with all of it.

The color choices are also well done. The sickly green used in the Zawa scenes creates a great sense of unease. There’s a nice pop of color with our main heroes, who sport bright-colored hair and seem to liven up their bakery well. Overall, the colors do feel a bit too dark, muting the outdoor scenes in blues and purples, but overall, the color adds to the unique feel of the world.

Dialynas’ letters are also great, from the sound effects to the animated response of the cat still angry about the chicken almost being run over. Dialynas also uses different colors to add emphasis, something you rarely see in modern comics. There’s also a lot of creativity employed in the word balloons themselves, giving them a zip and added emphasis that helps with comedy and drama.

The design of Zawa is also fantastic. Depicted as evil and almost demonic, the final page reveals there may be a way to brighten up this beast, and it all starts with their stomach. The final few pages add a lot of drama and stakes to the situation as well, reminding us there are godly figures here, and Zawa really is a kind of guardian who has abilities.

All-ages friendly, Zawa + The Belly of the Beast is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas and exciting visuals. An endearing quality permeates the work, making you fall in love with it all, never wanting to leave Dialynas incredible world.

'Zawa + The Belly of the Beast' #1 is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas
‘Zawa + The Belly of the Beast’ #1 is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas
Zawa + The Belly of the Beast #1
All-ages friendly, Zawa + The Belly of the Beast is packed to the gills with imaginative ideas and exciting visuals. An endearing quality permeates the work, making you fall in love with it all, never wanting to leave Dialynas incredible world.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Imaginative on all levels be it characters, visuals, and lettering
Introduces its main characters well as you'll instantly take a liking to everyone
Drops a big cliffhanger that could mean doom, but also tasty treats
Color across the book feel a bit too dark and muted
9.5
Great
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