Review: Xira #1
Xira is published by Red 5 Comics in conjunction with Stonebot Comics, and there's something really interesting about this partnership that I just discovered. I'm still trying to do some research, so forgive me if I'm missing some vital info.
Apparently, and to little to no mention in the comic industry news outlets (I've been googling like crazy, believe me), Stonebot comics are offered entirely free on their platform. So if you want to, you can go read the entire Xira series for free right now, and if you want to support the publisher you can offer them a donation.
I'm not really sure this is going to be the best business model, but it's certainly an interesting one. I'll try to find more info about this moving forward. Back to Xira!
Influenced by the Morrison/Quitely series WE3, Xira #1 follows a mother chimp that's been experimented on all her life. After being allowed to have a child, a tipping point has finally been hit when she realizes he will be experimented on and so she pulls off an escape from the research lab.
It's very much the newer Planet of the Apes meets WE3 and wears that on its sleeve.
Mauro Mantella's script is all business, moving at a brisk pace and getting the stage set fast because just like WE3 this is only a three issue mini-series. The pace works well as this is a sci-fi action piece and feels like the opening of a movie. Diego Giribaldi's artwork also hits hard, conveying a lot with emotive facial work while also providing dynamic action. At times his style reminds me of Eric Powell's Goon with elements of Rags Morales in some of the linework. Which is an amalgamation I never ever ever ever would have thought of but now that I've witnessed it (intentionally on Giribaldi's part or not), I'm very much down with it.
There's a particular sequence that I absolutely loved where Xira is confronted by a guard. It's revealed that she is now so mentally advanced that she can read a person so thoroughly that she can disarm them mentally.
Like Deathstroke The Terminator, but with psychoanalysis.
The subject matter may be triggering, so fair warning on that element. If you avoided WE3 for its depictions of animal cruelty and experimentation then this will hit the same beats. As the series progresses it definitely leans more into discussing animal cruelty.
If you're looking for a quick sci-fi action thriller with mecha suits and chimps with guns, then you'll definitely want to check this out. It's also well worth checking out Stonebot's other offerings and supporting them, be it through purchasing their physical books or donating on their website.