I like a title that tells me what's what.
At the start of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World we are introduced to our hero, Amelia Cole, a teenage girl with a adequate grip on the mystic arts. Immediately, the writing team of Knave and Kirkbride make it known that Amelia is a vulnerable character, both emotionally and in the sense of physical harm. As she battles a demon in a busy city street it's clear this a pretty normal teenager, save for the ability to kick ass with a wand and whatnot.
The other half of the title, the "Unknown World" is exactly that by issue's end. What might stick out about Amelia Cole is it's price point — while all other MonkeyBrain debut titles are $0.99 this comes in at $1.99. That's because it's a whopping 31 pages. Those extra panels are spent building the setting Amelia lives in… I'm sorry, make that settings.
One magic, one regular (ours, I guess), Miss Cole is one of two beings able to jump back and forth between the apparently identical universes. Thus, the aforementioned street-demon is a bit of a problem when it shows up in the "Non." The concept of duel worlds, pretty much the same save for magicks in one, is extremely throught-provoking, and raises serious questions. I mean, for example, when the main character realizes she's in the wrong universe (hate when that happens) and sees that a friend is not responding appropriately to a Satan/bull/man exploding after getting stabbed in the chest I wondered if Amelia had duel friendships with the same person in both worlds. How the hell does that work out? Sounds kind of scandalous, actually. Okay, creative team, I'm digging it.
Then that third, "Unknown" world shows up at the end, the one that Amelia didn't know about but is revealed to be from. The title of the comic delivers, our protagonist in a unfamiliar place, but it feels a little bit like square one after so many pages. The narrative world of Amelia Cole is a little too big, and it's hard to gain any traction as a reader as to what the comic is really about.
The visuals by Nick Brokenshire give the pages unique texture and atmosphere. Is it an insult to call an artist's work as cute? Maybe adorable is the better word. That's not say Brokenshire isn't also fierce and chaotic, after all, magic pours from this book in droves. He just has a very attractive style, something I love looking at.
Amelia Cole and the Unknown World is not as complicated as I'm letting on; it just could be. Right now it stars a very likeable and earnest lead character and world with a lot of trap doors. For two bucks it is well worth a peek, and if the Unknown aspects turn into something as magical as the power wielded by Amelia it will then warrant a longer look.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics reader and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, devotee of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation. Check out his original, ongoing webcomic And Then There Were Zombies and follow his subpar tweeting at @jamilscalese.