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A Distant Soil #40 Review

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After a six-year hiatus, creator Colleen Doran brings her epic title A Distant Soil back from hibernation.  And she does so with this promise: there’s only 10 issues left until it’s all wrapped up.

Here’s the official description from Image:

The final chapter of the A DISTANT SOIL saga continues as fifteen-year-old Liana, the ultimate psionic weapon of mass destruction, loses control of her power and threatens to destroy everyone and everything in her path.

Six years is a long time for a title to hit the pause button, and Colleen Doran seems intent on making up for lost momentum by giving us an uber-fast and ultra-violent entry issue.  We have decapitations, explosions, and plenty of soulful screaming.  What we don’t have is entry point for new readers.  Yes, the inside cover offer the requisite summary of “What Has Gone Before,” but it’s sparse and given the richness of the world Doran has created you get the feeling it’s akin to cramming every season of Game of Thrones onto a bar napkin.  And I felt lost the whole time.

I am very open to admitting that my inability to follow this issue is less a reflection of what could be Doran’s very good storytelling skills, and more a reflection of what I might have been reading six years ago.  But still, even a little context would’ve helped. What I will say as a new reader is this: Doran’s appendix to this issue, which reads like a long love letter to her longtime fans, was probably the most enjoyable part.  In this closing column Doran talks about the struggles she’s had in re-launching this title, and the joy she feels in returning to it.  And while even here I couldn’t fully follow (I somewhat felt like the dude standing in the back of a support group who accidentally walked in while looking for the bathroom), I’m a sucker for any moment where a creator communicates directly to her fans.

Doran is a good artist.  Maybe even great.  Her characters have a classic look, and although there are moments when a panel might look a little too precious, these were the best parts of the story for me.

I’ll be honest: A Distant Soil #40 is so geared towards the die hard that fan I won’t be picking up #41.  But I might go back and read the first issue.


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