Heroes & Villains: Steve De La Mare’s ‘AL15 The Adventure Begins’

Supervillains who promise to show heroes “new meanings of the word ‘pain’” are clearly talking about going back to the gym for the first time in 14 months.

I’m glad that both my day job and this column don’t require me to raise my arms any higher than desk-level because anything beyond that is not part of my current skillset. This is also after I purposefully under did it when hitting the weight machines. For the record, I’m fully vaccinated and my usual gym outings take place when most of the world is still asleep. I also sanitize the equipment both before AND after using it, all while wearing my mask correctly. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m okay with reentering that portion of society.

Also, bikini season is right around the corner and I need to get shredded.

Luckily for me comics weigh next to nothing…let’s look at some.

AL15 The Adventure Begins
Steve De La Mare

I’m not sure if anyone noticed but I took last week off from the column. On occasion I have nothing to write about and instead of yet another column where I bemoan the state of my pull list at my local comic shop, I opted to take a knee for the week.

Then, like clockwork, something interesting hits my inbox and reignites my desire to write about comics again!

This week it’s AL15 The Adventure Begins from Steve De La Mare. Here’s the blurb:

One girl’s fight for survival to get home whilst rewriting her own history in this fast-paced sci-fi hybrid graphic novel.

ALI5 the Adventure Begins is an off-world sci-fi adventure set 250 yrs after humans have colonised the stars from a polluted Earth. Moon Farming communities supply food to the neighbouring planet. Everyone knows their place in life: everyone except ALI5.

ALI5 is a 15th generation Cropper from the moon and wants at least one adventure in her lifetime. She never expected one this epic!

Stowing away on a cargo ship it veers off-course and splash lands into the forbidden moon. Here she discovers a hidden world ruled over by a despotic queen and meets various characters along the way: some trying to help and some trying to hunt her down.

Billed as a sci-fi hybrid graphic novel (part graphic novel, part prose, part art book), AL15 is De La Mare’s FIRST novel which makes it all the more impressive. It’s an ambitious book that takes big swings at world building with lush, gorgeous artwork. The hybrid approach to storytelling certainly works in the book’s favor by making clever use of the medium. The sections of prose and art/design that are included add to the story but not at the expense of the pace. They never felt like they were detracting from the larger story and added additional context that would have chewed up whole issues of a traditional comic.

I was also particularly enamored with the creature designs in the book, all of which had real weight and character to them. The press release hinted at a planned prequel and sequel to this story and from what I can tell there’s more than enough story here to support both.

The book is published by Markosia and will be available from June 8 as a hardcover.


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