This Land: Comic Book Review
Story and Creator: Mark Abnett
Art: Przemyslan Dedelis
Colours: Liezl Buenaventura
Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Editor: Verona-Meiana Putaranui
Tribal Logo Designs: Seb Wikaraka-Peni
Kowhaiwhai Design: Hekiera Mareroia
Beach Character Design: Craig Peterson
Publisher: Aroha Comics
Described in creator Mark Abnett’s own words as “Moana meets the X-Men”, it is difficult not to be immensely and immediately charmed by This Land. Publisher Aroha Comics was set up to shed a much needed and well-deserved light on the stories of underrepresented cultures in mainstream entertainment, and This Land is a shining example of the important work they do.
This Land ain’t big enough for the two of us…
With the return of a disgruntled Old God, Hell’na must rally the forces of the best and brightest of the tribes around her to harness their abilities and protect their world…abilities that some may not fully understand…
There is a lot going on in This Land, Its art is undeniably beautiful and hugely atmospheric. The cracked-earth patterns and the indigenous tales that Hell’na spins from the flames are all unique additions. The colours throughout are as hot and ethereal as they should be; deep, burnt reds and otherworldly greens all come together in a perfect folkloric harmony. It’s a feast for the eyes.
This Land is a feast for the ears, too. We are provided with resources to help us hone our Te Reo pronunciation (the Māori language), as well as learn the meanings of the words peppered throughout the story. This warm and welcoming invitation into the Māori culture only makes This Land more enjoyable not just as a comic book, but as an experience. The lettering from the one and only Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is, of course, a masterpiece. Carefully thought out inclusions of Te Reo and other languages that we are never meant to understand shroud the story in a deliberate mystery.
The thing that shines most brightly about This Land, however, is its heart. Everything about this comic is a veritable labour of love. As a result, each page feels like a reverent homage to culture and its people who are still striving for more mainstream representation. Bringing stories like this to the page is vital work.
This Land is home
When all wrapped up together, every great element of This Land comes together to make a whole that is even better. Much like Hell’na’s team of rag-tag heroes, this comic is brimming with spirit. If you’re eager to try something new and support an excellent cause, then This Land might just be for you.
Interested in more like this? Check out our reviews of The Resurrected and Manu!
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