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Magic, Mystery, and Beauty Await in “Ruination”

Ruination Cover Art

Ruination, written by Ryan Bis, is a high fantasy epic packing plenty of magic, mystical creatures, and wonderous settings. But is everything as it seems?

The “Fallen” rebels attack a simple fishing village belonging to the Saldyrians called “Caldanna” while searching for a magic crystal. A young woman escapes with the crystal, despite the burning, plundering, and pillaging going on around her. A group of survivors team up with a disgruntled Fallen assassin to find and rescue the young woman as the dead return to life.

Meet the heroes

Our survivors are a likeable, if somewhat tropey set of characters. Dante, brother of fleeing girl Elene, is a stubborn soldier who constantly makes a fool of himself. Jalen is a brave knight charging into danger even when injured. Keila is a wise-cracking rogue who argues with Dante constantly. Raechal is a little girl who doesn’t speak, and Petyr is her kind of bratty brother. They both run off and get into trouble at various points.

There is a charm to each character and the group’s development through the journey feels genuine. By the end of the third issue, Keila consoles Dante despite their constant arguing, and it’s an earned moment for the two. It will be interesting to see whether any future traumas cause division amongst the group, or if the unlikely alliance manages to hold.

A twist to the tale?

An intriguing subplot is mentioned during a conversation about the nature of the crystals and the world they occupy. Keila explains that the Saldyrians haven’t been told the whole story by their leaders. They received half of the story to fit a certain narrative, and this could be a cool way to flip the script on the plot as we know it so far.

Silas, the “big bad” of the story, could gain some needed context and motivation if this turns out to be an important part of the plot. I certainly hope it does anyway, as I feel that Silas suffers a bit as just a generic villain. Nairi, a Fallen sorceress, gives a short reference to his village being destroyed like Caldanna was, but little else. This seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Silas is well designed and there’s the potential within the narrative for him to become a much more memorable part of the story.

Pastel paradise

One of the biggest strengths of Ruination is the artwork and design. The creative team includes Giulia Lalli (artist), Kaytee Brown (colorist), and Matías Zanetti (letter). The panels pop with life and colour, making for some stunning scenes and settings. A large part of this is due to the clever use of pastels in the backgrounds which helps to bring the world and the story to life. Panels that would otherwise seem unremarkable are given an almost “otherworldly” vibe, adding to the fantasy theme of the story.

Overall, the first three issues of Ruination that I’ve read create a magical world brought to life thanks to some amazing designs. The characters might not be anything new for the genre but are interesting anyway. I’m looking forward to seeing how the journey ends, particularly with the potential for some twists and turns along the way.

What are you expecting the “whole story” to be? Will this cause the group to fracture, or will the unlikely alliance hold together? If you’ve yet to start the journey, you can learn more about Ruination by reading the interview with Ryan Bis on AP2HYC, and be sure to check out the Kickstarter. Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Peter Horner