Hello everybody and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Ninja Salamanders Train Against Rottweilers. I’m Ryan Atkinson and every Tuesday here on No Such Thing As Reviews, we’ll be reviewing a plethora of pop culture and wonderful things! Independent comic books, T.V., movies and more! The reviews will consist of a brief overview of what we will be reviewing, a summary of the content (spoiler alert!!), my personal thoughts on the content including a rating out of 5 and whenever possible we will include an interview with the creators!
This week I will be reviewing Native Lands Issue 1: First Step written by James Cavanagh with line work and inking by Cecilia Latella and colours by Michael Woods.
The story is set in space for a good chunk of the book. We open up with a shot of a space ship flying away from an Earth like planet. We hear a conversation on said ship, between a scientist and a specimen named Emma. The scientist is asking Emma about what she can remember about the day that Emma was involved in a disaster in her city which ended up in the deaths of some people in order to protect Emma’s sister. The scientist asks Emma if she understands that she committed murder and Emma explains that she understands but she was just doing what she though necessary in order to ensure her sisters safety.
The conversation ends with Emma asking to see her sister. The scientist says that she can’t see her just yet but she will soon enough.
Cut to a group of three people running down the hallway. Two are dressed just like Emma in plain grey t-shirts and track pants and another is a member of the staff of the building, wearing a different shaded grey t-shirt and green cargo pants and a set of dog tags.
The run to the end of the hallway and are met by a group of staff members with guns and a different scientist who orders the staff to put a stop to this. They do that for sure by shooting the staff member that was helping the patients. As he is dying he tells one of the patients, who we now know as Stephanie, to keep running. However they stop to tend to their fallen friend and get caught.
We learn the name of the other patient is Bastian. Apparently Bastian pulls this kind of crap pretty often because the scientist tells him he’s had enough of his nonsense and that because his treatment is not complete, they do not yet have permission to leave.
They cuff Bastian and Stephanie and separate them. Bastian asks the scientist who ratted them out and all he says is that it was a friend of theirs and then he walks away.
Cut back over to Emma who is talking with the same scientist as before. Only now Emma is in her cel and the scientist is sitting in a chair on the other side of the bars. She explains to Emma that she will soon be taken to a shuttle and she should cooperate or else they’ll still take her only it will be a little more violent.
She explains to Emma that she is very sorry but she could not find her sister at this time. Emma tells her to shut her mouth about Elaina (her sister) and Emma goes on to say that she hopes her and all of her colleagues all get what they deserve. That they all go through every torment and bit of suffering that Emma and the other subjects have been put through.
They speak for a little while longer then we cut over to the scientist who ordered the killing of the staff member that heled Bastian and Stephanie.
He is ordering Bastian and Kallum (another subject) to demonstrate their abilities. They are in a sort of testing grounds that looks like a forest. He explains that in order to properly assess what they are able to do they have been paired off based on testing answers the two subjects provided as well as results from the tests the scientists have performed on the subjects and that either they get a move on with the demonstration, or they’re going to have to face some consequences.
The two take off running into the testing grounds. Bastian hides behind a tree but Kallum sees where he is hiding and shoots some energy blasts from his palms at Bastian. Bastian dodges the blasts and pounces on Kallum, revealing that he has super sharp claws and what I imagine are enhanced reflexes and agility. He tears up Kallum’s back and Kallum retaliates with some more energy blasts. Bastian gets hit pretty bad and the scientist says over a speaker that there is no need to kill each other at this time and that he appreciates their cooperation.
We cut to what appears to be the same city that Emma helped destroy to save her sister. We meet two people named Jackobie and Eve. Jackobie is bleeding from his stomach, he proceeds to tell Eve that everything will be okay and that he is all right. Then he dies. Eve falls to hold his lifeless body and notices a broken piece of glass or mirror on the ground. Eve’s hair is pink and she seems shocked about this fact. She tosses the shard and tells Jackobie’s lifeless body to wake up and promise that everything is going to be all right. She hugs him and tears run down her face and fall onto his. Her tears seem to make his forehead glow.
Then we cut to inside the space shuttle that the scientist mentioned to Emma. Emma is sitting next to a little girl who is having trouble fastening her seat belt. Emma asks if she needs help and she says she isn’t allowed to talk to strangers. Emma asks where her parents are and the girl says that she and all the other kids were staying with a nanny. They talk a little bit longer and Emma helps her with her seat belt.
Charlie (the little girl) thanks Emma and asks her what she thinks the planet they are flying to will be like. Emma says she doesn’t know but it has to be better than where they were.
We cut again to Bastian strapped down to a table being spoken to by his same scientist along with a couple others. The same scientist says to Bastian to suck it up because he consented to these brutal tests so that they can learn more about his “kind” and potentially save lives. He then tells him that it is his lucky day because after the current test, they no longer have a need for him. But he better not get too excited because it’s not easy to escape from them.First he must forget. He has a little spell and we the see this is just a dream. He wakes up sitting next to Jackobie on the same space shuttle that Emma is on. Jackobie is now all golden coloured and his hair is kind of spiky now.
Jackobie explains to Bastian that the ship is heading to Terra Five, an Earth like planet which will be their new home;. As they land Bastian thanks him and gets up from his seat. He asks Jackobie if he is coming with him and we learn Jackobie has to stay put because he’s made some terrible mistakes.
And that’s the end of issue one of Native Lands!
This is an interesting story that I look forward to seeing where the following issues take it.
One complaint I would have for this book is how often the story jumps around with no indication of where we are or who we are with. It can get a little confusing if you aren’t paying close attention.
My rating for this book is as follows:
I would recommend this book to fans of sci-fi. This story dives into space travel as well as touching on super powers. Keeping in mind parental discretion should be advised due to some coarse language and mature themes.
I had the pleasure of speaking with James Cavanagh on his process and you can find that interview below!
What got you started in comics?
“I have always had a passion for writing. I started writing in school and my interest built from there, I stuck to mostly writing in a novel format but about five years ago I discovered comic books. The first comic I read was Saga and I was hooked, I wanted to write my own and that’s how I ended up here. I worked on Native Lands for about three years before searching for an artist [the amazing Cecilia Latella]. Now I’m hoping that those who read the book will be as interested as me to learn about this world and the characters within it, there’s a lot to come and I hope you stick around for the journey!”
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
“The idea developed from smaller ideas. I had been interested in writing a story centered around the rebuilding of civilization or the building up of a new world. I planned Native Lands as a novel, however getting into comics, my love of the X-Men and of science fiction pushed this idea as a comic book. I find it easy to picture the characters, settings, everything. I was lucky enough to find Cecilia Latella, who has easily brought this world and the characters to life exactly as I envisioned them. I am so grateful to have her, Michael Woods and Weston Design Studio to tell this story with.”
Do you use an outline or a plot, or do you just follow an idea and see where you end up?
“I use a plot, I find it difficult to write without knowing where the story will end up, and also where I want it to go or what I want to put across. Saying that, I am always developing plots and changing ideas, at times even when I’m writing the scripts. I always want the story to flow and if something isn’t connecting, I’ll shake things up as soon as I find the problem. ”
What inspires you to create?
“I’d say I’m inspired by people. I love hearing their opinions, their questions. What is going to happen with this? Why did you do that? I like seeing readers enjoy what I’ve written, seeing them question it or get emotional from it. I enjoy writing immensely, and that in turn inspires me to write more. I like building worlds and characters, seeing how they interact, how they develop and grow with the challenges I put in front of them.”
Do you ever get writers block? And if so, how do you overcome it?
“I do, and I hate it! I usually take a break, read something, play a video game, watch a movie or a TV show. I look for inspiration in something else, a good story always makes me want to work harder to make my own stories better.”
If you could choose an actor/actress to star in a movie based on your book, who would it be?
“To say I haven’t thought about this would be a lie but I’ve never narrowed it down to specific actors and actresses for each character. I’d love to see Melissa McBride, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sarah Paulson, Travis Fimmel and Gwendolyn Christie to name a few. There’s a lot of actors and actresses I could list, all I know for certain is that I’d want my book to be made as a television show. I don’t think the series would work in a movie format.”
What were you like in school?
“I was quiet, very shy too. I was friendly but I think I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought. I think I’ve become more confident, in myself and my abilities. I would like to think I am still as friendly and approachable, but just more laid back.”
What is your favourite motivational quote or phrase?
“Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”
Where can we buy or read your comic?
“You can buy Issue #1 on Comixology and Gumroad. Then Issue #2 is available currently just on Gumroad, but will also be available through Comixology on the 28th!
If you could only give one piece of advice to aspiring creators, what would it be?
“Start small. Short stories, or stories made to be limited issues. Don’t give up, it is a tough road but if you enjoy what you do, nothing else matters.”
And finally. The question that is on everyone’s mind: Which do you prefer: Cake or pie? And why?
“Cake! If I’m going to have a desert I’m going to be as greedy as possible, and I’ve never been a fan of pies.. sorry pie lovers of the world!”
I’d like to thank James for taking part in our interview! If you are a creator and would like to see your book reviewed you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
And thank you all for reading! If anyone has any suggestions for next week’s alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) please comment your suggestion below 🙂
I’ve been Ryan Atkinson and I’ll see you next week and remember.. There’s No Such Thing As Reviews!