Comic Review: Golam - Sauge, Azorin-Lara, Dos Santos
Golam - Sauge, Azorin-Lara, Dos Santos
We tend to associate the world of magical fantasy, spells and demons with a much darker setting, and even in those books where there are academies training aspiring young wizards. Comic artist Nicolas Sauge with writers Josselin Azorin-Lara and Sylvain Dos Santos take a different approach in Golam, setting their adventure of young magicians in training in a brighter and more colourful Arabian Nights setting, where the worlds of magic, spells and demons is actually just as much at home.
Before we get to the training programme for aspiring alchemists, the first few pages of Golam -Volume 1: The Son of the Moon introduce us to the nature of those powers, how they are used and how one enterprising young tearaway somehow gets mistaken for a wizard and ends up on what looks to be a dangerous and challenging programme. We are in Aassima in the world of Naitoo, and a tournament between two alchemists shows how skilled individuals can call on and control the arcanic energy that flows around the planet and channel it to create Golams, monstrous chimerical beasts of energy.
On the streets of Aassima however, such tournaments only serve to provide rich pickings for the Forty Thieves, a gang of wild runaway youths under the control of gang master Khalil. Mehdi, the oldest of the thieves, is planning to escape however, but Khalil has discovered that the young pickpocket has been putting aside some of the takings for himself and he isn't happy about it. Summoning a demon to deal with Mehdi, something goes wrong with the spell resulting in Khalil himself being on the receiving end and now under the power of Mehdi as he makes his escape.
Taking advantage of a temporary portal opened up for new candidates, Mehdi finds himself transported to Tassil Arch near Hikmadrassa, the location of the best alchemy school in the world, with the latest intake of students hoping to hone their magic skills there. Entrance into Hikmadrassa isn't that easy however, and the young students are immediately tested by a Golam challenge before they even get to the school. Mehdi has no alchemy or golam quick-thinking survival instincts of a born street thief. Teaming up with a partner, there's a chance he might just survive to get as far as Hikmadrassa, but that's only going to be the beginning of his challenges.
The young adult adventures and the exploration of magic powers inevitably invites comparisons with Harry Potter, but the references of Golam are very different from the characteristics of traditional magical fantasy. The whole bold cartoonish designs and colouration aligns the adventures of these young magicians more closely with the manga and anime worlds of Blue Exorcist or Fairy Tail. Or Pokemon even, which is there to some extent in the use of personal totems used for tournaments that can be stored in little devices known here as 'kandils'. The creatures however are rather less cute in Golam and considerably more dangerous.
The real fun in Golam will undoubtedly follow in subsequent volumes, but the introductory chapter sets the scene well and is not short on epic monster battles between wild imaginative creatures. There's also a good group of characters assembled here from different kingdoms, each with their own personalities and skills, and of course you have the wildcard maverick among them, Mehdi. Even in its Arabian setting is not the most original of ideas and you can expect Golam to play out along the familiar lines, but there's a little bit of humour and comic exaggeration to create plenty of dynamic in the characters and situations here and plenty of scope to extend its imaginative use of the magical powers, creatures and adventures in future volumes.
Golam by Nicolas Sauge, Josselin Azorin-Lara and Sylvain Dos Santos is published in eBook format by Europe Comics.
Amazon UK - Golam - Volume 1 - The Son of the Moon