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Comic Review: Retroblade Comic, Chapter One

Posted by Sian, June 2016.  Freya Horn owns rights to cartoon imagery on this page. 

Retroblade is a fantasy adventure, created by Freya Horn, which follows the journey of Axel who we learn is the last survivor of a mysterious post-apocalyptic event in the year 3007. The synopsis for this comic refers to this particular event as a ‘reality crash’. With all hope seemingly lost when his sister, Leki dies, Axel finds a means, with the help of her A.I, to travel back in time to find a way to stop the catastrophic event from happening…

The prologue for Retroblade comic is absolutely beautiful and immersing and reflects upon an ancient tale which transpires in Leki’s dream before she passes away. The story introduces the idea that the world is held in balance by the eight ‘augments’ which represent different forces and keep each other in check like water and fire. Female guardians are described as the vessels for these forces, which were gifted with everlasting life and God-like abilities. 


Once you have read this article you may be interested to read an interview with the creator of Retroblade Comic, Freya Horn:

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The story of the guardians can be likened to the ‘Three Goddesses’ of wisdom, knowledge and power like in Legend of Zelda, but the female guardians feel more down to Earth. One of the female guardians breaks their rule of celibacy and bares a child, Magnus who grows to deny the fate that he should return the power he has inherited. He instead pursues a particular fate where he obtains even more power, which prompts ‘The Fall’, which infers complete chaotic disruption of the equilibrium across time and space.

This might all sound a bit serious, but I really love the humour which develops in this particular part of the comic, as the reader discovers the tale is told by a red tiefling-like creature (please see third image to the right below), who I imagine sounds a bit like James Wood who voices Hades in Disney’s Hercules. A lot of intrigue is introduced in chapter 1, which is generally easy to follow, however, I am a little confused whether I am meant to understand the source of the apparent interference, represented by blue writing on page 15.

At the point where Axel does travel back in time for the very first time, to supposedly help reverse what has happened, there is an almost magical moment, where we discover he is surrounded by nature: a stark contrast to his former dire situation. I find it really effective that comic panels show a zoomed out perspective which reveals he has actually landed on a roundabout in the middle of a giant metropolis (page 26). I think it’s also innovative that Freya has used different shapes on this particular page to show futuristic grandeur of 2112.

Preview: Retroblade Comic

Chapter 1 for Retroblade Comic successfully portrays a futuristic ‘Big Brother is Watching You’ scenario, where a city is regulated by an A.I. called Ozma. Whilst Ozma has a budha-like cute character design, looks are deceiving. Ozma represents a nightmare of what a human city could become: over-regulated, controlling and so tight on security, that there is little understanding for how issues may be dealt with diplomatically. Freya has fuelled the city with a lot of imagination and the added comical aspect makes this of wide appeal.  

Freya has produced Retroblade to a professional quality; the feel for the comic is dynamic as different angles are portrayed across all comic panels. Towards the end of chapter 1, Axel joins forces with a rebel scientist to escape the metropolis in an action fuelled series of scenes, as they are pursued by ‘dissectors’ and a mysterious ninja called Rin. Rin adds a fast-paced edge to fight scenes with shuriken, which almost bound from the pages. The use of colours and effects is also exceptional, particularly where the comic needs to show sci-fi elements, like Ozma’s blue glow. 

Overall, Retroblade is a story to follow with lots of intrigue and it would be really interesting to learn about how this story develops. Retroblade explores the idea that one can have multiple destinies and I look forward to learning about whether there are time travel ‘rules’ which may affect what can and cannot be changed in the past. I would recommend this comic to not only those who enjoy time travel and futuristic themes, but also those who enjoy fantasy themes as well. The palette of colours and stylistic elements for RetroBlade are really admirable and altogether, this, thus far is well-rounded enjoyable webcomic to read. 

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