Paradiso #7 Gives us Trees, Tech and Turncoats
Story: Ram V
Art: Devmalya Pramanik
Colors: Alba Cardona Gil
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Editor: Lizzie Kaye
Publisher: Image Comics
And so, we spiral deeper into the dream.
Paradiso #7 takes us a little further into liminal territory. This book continues to surprise me – not in quality, because the creative team is eerily consistent, but in concept. As we ramble into this strange hodgepodge landscape, we pick up little musings, odd offshoots (the Guardians, the Irontrees) and other details that do a lot to map Paradiso without detracting from its strangeness. If anything, they enhance it.
When it comes to craft, Paradiso is a prime example of balancing fun, sci-fi action and story depth, and Ram V consistently demonstrates that he knows almost exactly when to deploy each strategy. “Dark Dwellers” is a literal descent, but this arc also pushes into the uncertain relationship between the urban resident and their landscape. What do cities do when they become aware of themselves?
More importantly, what do we do?
Pramanik wows as usual – what more can I say? There’s not much that this series doesn’t cover. Action? Check. Stylized characters? Check. Crazy depth of field? Check. Wildly imaginative cityscapes? Check. It’s rare to run across a panel that’s visually confusing or ill-conceived, and with seven issues down, Pramanik consistently meets, and exceeds, previous issue standards. This book is a visual treat, and a special shout-out to the Kirby & Tron-inspired motorcycle sequence.
Cardona’s color work is superb, as well. It can be hard to choose a palette that complements Pramanik’s blend of loose and fine linework. Cardona nails it, and there’s a lot going on with light in this issue that’s really beautiful.
Bidikar’s skill shines more and more as time goes on. We’re far enough in that we’ve seen the scaffolding, so to speak. This is another issue packed with (necessary) text, and Bidikar’s often working with white balloons against darker panels and backgrounds in this arc. Unobtrusive, easy to read, perfectly married to the art style, and really well done.
I’ll say it again – I’m down for where this book is going, both plot-wise and thought-wise, and the unpredictability’s refreshing. We’re experiencing a glorious glut of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic cityscapes in comics right now, and it’s a great problem to have. Paradiso consistently stands out from its peers.
Paradiso #7 tackles dreams, urban uncertainties, metamorphosis, and some cool as hell motorcycles.