It’s been a little while since the last review. A bit of a longer while, I’d say. But good things come to those who wait. So, a brief reminder – in Issue #1 of Mibdul we’ve met our protagonists. There’s the young and curious, rebellious Magla, there’s her hard-working, sizable fellow of a father Stone, there’s the caring friend Hayrun, and let’s not forget the antagonists – prime minister Robberbaron, chairperson Ms. Orion, and a fat bulbous gut of a human Mr. Bask. At the end of the issue, Bask is killed by an unidentified black force of nature, and Magla feels like a mess. Thoughts of her mother dwell on, taking her attention, and the desire to rise up against those who seek to ruin the planet does not wane.
So, that’s Issue #1. Ergo, for your reading pleasure, this time we will review no less than TWO of the following sequel issues.
In Issue #2 of this series, written by Teodor Reljić and illustrated by Inez Kristina, the plot begins to thicken. The monster that devoured Bask is currently roaming the city, so much so that the military has to stop it. At one moment they even succeed, but not before Magla actually connects with the beast on a spiritual level – and as she is tripping, she hears and feels her late mother.
Moments before all that, Magla has a fight with Stone over her absentmindedness, rather her attention shift to her mother’s sketches and notes away from her and her father’s daily job. The family drama seen in these scenes is somewhat average. I stress this mainly because I’ve seen and heard thousands of similar types of arguments, and at one point they all kind of mesh into one big blob.
The highlight of this issue, I should stress, are the antagonists. During the story, Ms. Orion is negotiating with the androids from the planet Velocifero, more precisely with their representative Madam Clutch. From this conversation we see that these two ladies are not to be trifled with; they are experienced, aren’t afraid to speak their mind, and it appears as if they both have some sort of hidden agendas. While we’re here, I have to give kudos to Kristina’s art here. Her rendering of both Ms. Orion and Madam Clutch is exceptionally amusing. They both look like worn-out, tiny and malnourished Karens with lots of experience in politics – it’s like I’m watching the Serbian prime minister having a conversation with herself.
So, that’s the end of Issue #2, with Magla unconscious, the monster captured, and Mibdul in unrest.
Moving onto Issue #3 and we get the first major event, but more on that later. Initially, we get to see the direct consequences of the monster’s attack, as well as Robberbaron addressing the people of his planet. Here Reljić introduces us to two new characters – the madam chancellor of the planet Treaty and her…secretary? Assistant? I’m sure the later issues reveal who this dark-haired girl is, but I’ve still not read them on purpose – I want to approach the future reviews with a fresh pair of eyes.
Namely, Robberbaron is seeking a loan from the chancellor, the chancellor is chastising him for doing deals with the rival planet Velocifero, an argument ensues and the parties split. The story is picking up steam very nicely here. Orion claims that Robberbaron is an idiot who thinks himself clever than he really is, but truth be told, at least based on these three issues, I kind of have this feeling that he has an ace up his sleeve. Of course, I’m not excluding the possibility that I might be entirely wrong here, but when I look at the interaction between him, the chancellor, and Ms. Orion, it seems to me that he’s not as naïve as he might appear.
The biggest change in this issue is in Magla’s story. She’s already trying her hardest to communicate with the spirit of her mather, and yet again this leads to an argument between her and Stone. This fight will also be the very last one between the two – while Magla is on a vacation (to clear her head from all of the noise), Orion drops by Stone’s place unannounced and offers him a hefty sum of money in exchange for using his historical reenactment space (yes, that’s his day job) for some unidentified purpose of hers. Stone, of course, refuses, which is when the unthinkable happens – he gets a bullet in the chest and dies on the spot. The final panel shows Magla staring into the corpse of her father, with the beast materializing behind her.
The art style in this issue is also quite amusing, especially the design choices of the chancellor and her assistant. However, the quality of the other antagonists seems to have dropped in this issue, especially the design of Robberbaron. It’s like he’s missing that spark which made him intriguing in the earlier issues. Still, I’ve got three issues of Mibdul to go, so maybe he stood out in one of them instead.
Reljić’s writing prowess remains top-notch. In the previous review I’ve stressed that I found the messages related to climate change a little too on-the-nose. With a smile on his face, Reljić actually confirmed my initial assessment. “And yes, don’t expect much ideological subtlety here – it was a deliberate choice, for better or worse. ;)” – I’ve literally cited Reljić word for word here. Of course, my original opinion on the matter related to the subject of climate change elements in this series has not changed one bit, which is why I opted to focus more on the character creation and the plot progression with these two issues. In that respect, Reljić is still delivering top-tier storytelling. A mini-series seems to be the perfect fit for him, though I’d honestly love to see him tackle an ongoing title or two.
Kristina’s approach is still within the bounds of high quality. You can definitely notice the areas where she fumbled a bit, but during the key moments she really shines as an artist, especially during the more kinetic scenes. Her colors, particularly in the third issue, really pop out here, though I should stress out that Emmanuel Borg helped greatly in this issue, as he did in two of the prior ones. And if his coloring skills are this good, this man deserves to be hired on multiple different projects, pronto! Also, we must not forget Faye Paris and her input regarding the lettering and the design.
So, Mibdul issues #2 and #3 – the final verdict is that they both pass, with flying colors. Now let’s all hope that the following reviews won’t be delayed for as long as this one was. Tehehe.
Author: Ivan Veljković