‘Brutal Nature #1’ Comic Review
written By Luciano Saracino; art by Ariel Olivetti
Sometimes the simplest of concepts can be the best. Such as the concept of a man who transforms into whatever beast he is wearing the mask of. That’s the bare-bones idea behind Argentinian writer Luciano Saracino’s great new series from IDW, Brutal Nature.
The plot revolves around a young man with a collection of masks, transforming and defending his native Colombia from invading Spanish conquistadors. It sounds like a combination of so many cool concepts. It has the idea of shape-shifting with masks from Majora’s Mask, a native man defending his home from invaders like Black Panther, and an element of The Phantom with the various animal-based abilities.
Placing it in a historical setting is pure genius. In a modern-day setting this could easily become just another superhero book. Instead, it gives the book a different kind of vibe. The modern world is a place that we see every day and can relate too. This is a world that’s long gone and and is a fascinating and violent time in world history.
The plot moves along at a comfortable pace. Nothing feels like filler, which is a very easy trap to fall into. It keeps you interested and doesn’t over-inform the reader so you’ll want to come back to find out more. For example the main character, Ich, has this collection of magical masks. Where did they come from? Why does he have them? How are they imbued with these abilities? All questions that I’m sure will be answered but Saracino avoids the cliché of starting with an origin story, choosing instead to start with a good, old-fashioned damsel-in-distress tale.
The artwork is just stunning. Ariel Olivetti captures every detail, resulting in the reader becoming fully immersed in the tale, which is exactly what a person wants when they buy a comic. There is also a noticeable difference in the way the two environments are depicted. When the story is with the Spanish, the colors are muted, the Spaniards are pale and there’s a lot of grey. The opposite is true when we’re with Ich and Yaretzi, the aforementioned damsel. The colors are lush, vibrant, and the characters look healthy.
This book doesn’t disappoint. Its characters are interesting from the get go, the art looks amazing and the basic premise is intriguing. Add that to the mystery of how Ich got these abilities and you’ve got a strong opening to what has the potential to be a fascinating series. Keep it coming.