Reading Pile: Ava's Demon Book One: Reborn HC
Ava's Demon is a popular webcomic that I dragged my feet on reading because A) I'm not great with webcomics and, B) I'm lazy. Specifically though, it's a webcomic that posts panel by panel, and I'm just not as into that presentation. Still, I liked what I saw of the art and heard nothing but glowing recommendations, so when the Kickstarter popped up for a nice hardcover edition I gave it a go. I did not toss on the multiple additional reward tiers such as the art book as I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this, and I very much regret that decision now but it was getting a little steep price-wise anyways.
Ava's Demon is an interesting splice of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and drama. It follow Ava, who has been haunted by a demon since childhood. The demon has essentially ruined her life by forcing her to say and do things that ostracize her from her friends.
The planet Ava currently lives on gets attacked however, and Ava narrowly escapes its destructions by following two classmates to an escaping spaceship.
Without spoiling too much, Ava ends up entering into a pact with her Demon in the hopes of starting fresh with life, while her demon Wrathia desires bloody vengeance against another godlike creature named Titan.
Michelle Fus' art and storytelling are a joy to absorb. They pace out an intriguing plot with a lot of unique characters who are well defined and engaging. The world is rich and unique as they blend in different genres into the drama of interpersonal (and intra) conflicts between all these characters. And while they're handling all of these brushstrokes of storytelling so deftly they inserts little flourishes in design and facial expressions that enhance everything.
One of the striking elements that I was really impressed with was the level of body horror and how Fus' use of colors and digital manipulations really enhanced the overall creepiness of the story. The fantasy and humor can lull you into a certain sense of calm and then you get an entire sequence where someone is surgically sliced into a new version of themselves as they are reformed by a techno cult.
There's a certain seamless quality to the storytelling that I just felt was refreshing and exciting, so I know I have to get off my ass more and read more webcomics if gems like this have been waiting out there all this time.
There's a really great balance of storytelling here and I love how it's been repackaged into this beautiful hardcover presentation. The $50 price is well worth the 324 pages of content as you also get bonus short stories by guest artists in the back. Now I'm not sure if you can still order the hardcovers at all because I recall reading that while Skybound was helping with the Kickstarter and this is branded by Image/Skybound that they would be handling the distribution of the softcover package. And I would say get the softcover if that's the easiest way for you and money is tight, but just now that the hardcover is definitely worth it.