Comics: Backways #5 - Reviewed

New from AfterShock Comics is Backways #5, an entertaining journey into magic that wonderfully blends the worlds of Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Backways is an engrossing tale in which co-creators Justin Jordan and Eleonara Carlini have crafted an interesting world of magical creatures and characters.

Sylvia has mysteriously disappeared and her friend Anna Merrick is convinced that she has not just ran away without telling her. Her search for Sylvia takes her into the secret nation of the Backways, a place that exists in the areas of our cities and homes that we have forgotten. It is a place filled with magic and a touch of madness, where each citizen has some sort of special magical gift called knack. Anna is an outsider, but she gets help navigating this home for the weird from a woman named Coyote Bones. On their journey, they encounter a number of foes and slowly discover that Anna may be more powerful than anyone in this realm.

Issue 4 provided us with a history lesson about the Backways and the rules of Knack. There has always been one rule, "One person, one Knack." This rule has been a sort of checks and balances in the Backways that has prevented a powerful being only referred to as "IT" from escaping the Outside. Anna is considered a dangerous threat because to her powers, it is for that reason that her friend Sylvia is being used as bait by "IT" in order to escape the Outside. Issue 5 is a fast-paced and action packed book that is sure to entertain the readers, while also serving as the conclusion to Volume one of the series. The story is chock full of fantasy and horror elements and is sure to appeal to readers of many ages, not just teens or fans of stories like Harry Potter. It is dark, but not any darker than say Harry Potter or other teen fantasy novels.

The art from Eleonara Carlini is superb and the style is similar to a manga comic or anime, which especially works for the action and fantasy sequences. The characters are overly expressive and their movements are extremely dynamic. Combining that with the creative placement of each panel, Carlini’s art is full of details that will have you revisiting each page and panel. I don't think there was one page or panel that was even remotely similar to another one, which makes for a visually appealing and interesting book. The colors from Silvia Tidei are also terrific and there is a great deal of shading and color variatons.

Backways was a welcomed surprise, something that I never expected to enjoy that ended up completely sucking me into this world of magic. I am looking forward to seeing what happens happens when the next volume is released.