Let’s talk about Sera and the Royal Stars #1. The opening sequence is enough to stir anyone who loves fantasy novels. You arrive when it should be the end of a battle and it’s time to retrieve the fallen, and yet, it seems Sera’s enemy seeks to continue their fight a while longer. Sera shows a depth of intimacy with death and war as she casually removes an arrow from a fallen warrior. Then things go a bit sideways for our beloved Sera. Suddenly, she’s no longer aiming at the enemy, she’s in outer space speaking to an entity known as Mitra.
Mitra tells Sera there is a task to be accomplished. She must release the bonds on the eternal celestial lights, otherwise the physical realm would be impacted as well. Sera, unnerved by the situation, demands to go back. What happens at that point is not what you’d expect in any situation. I would tell you more—but I can’t. You’ll have to read for yourself just how amazing Sera is. The scope of the artwork is amazing. You can see and feel the difference between the physical realm and the vision realm. When you realize just what is at stake—or what you think is at stake versus what is known among the physical world, you wonder- what would you do?
The artwork is spectacular. From the spectacular scenes that spread across the pages, to the colours which set the mood so perfectly, Mok and Angulo deserve major kudos for bringing this issue to glorious life. The colours just fill your soul as you follow Sera as she makes a choice that can change not only her world, but everyone’s. The scenes with Sera and her family are coloured in such a way, you see the emotion pop as the facial expressions and movements come alive. Angulo did such a brilliant job here with the deftness of colour to convey such intense emotions. Mok’s linework in just conveying meaning is top notch. Truly, when you see this land, it has emotion and comes alive with each layer.
Now, I want to mention Jim Campbell’s lettering here for a moment. His lettering choices throughout this issue is superb. From the very beginning through the visions, and going forward, you never once feel pulled out of the storyline. In fact, his lettering is so congruent to the artwork and colouring, it’s why the flow of the story is impeccable. As a writer, the written word calls to me, so seeing/not seeing the words as I read this fabulous story is truly an apex moment. It enhanced so much of my experience, allowed me to enjoy each panel as it unveiled itself.
Tsuei has written an amazing first issue of Sera and the Royal Stars. The storyline is tight, smooth, and it just flows like a river. It’s a testament to editor, Adrian Wassel, on the high quality, well-polished prose within the story. The verbal exchanges are intense, spot on without dragging. Tsuei makes sure to get the point across without info dumping. Droplets of info here and there, enough to make you want to know more. That is something many comics don’t do enough of- great foreshadowing. This one has delivered with some great hooks and foreshadowing that make you yearn for issue two.
Tsuei, Angulo, Mok, Campbell, and Vault Comics needs to be proud of this issue and the series. There aren’t many fantasy novels that transcend the same old mold out there. This is one of them and it breaks it in such a way, you cheer Sera on as she gets on her horse and rides out of the compound to find the first part of what’s needed to free the bound celestial lights. I cannot wait to read the next issue and see what else is in store for Sera as she seeks out the Royal Stars and her own destiny.
Sera and the Royal Stars #1
Writer: Jon Tsuei Colourist: Raul Angulo
Artist: Audrey Mok Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: The Vault Comics Editor: Adam F. Wassel
Available: Everywhere comics are sold, Comixology