What might seem like a celebration in AL15 Vol. 1: The Adventure Begins, marks the unfolding chaos in AL15 Vol. 2: Broken Dreams. This sci-fi masterpiece – written and illustrated by Steve De La Mare – is off to blow our minds with yet another surprise. A new unworldly journey of uncertainty, adventure, and meaning. But this time, with backup on the side!
Looking back at Vol. 1, the comic revolves around an adventure-hungry girl, AL15. Because of this, she ends up stranded in Mirror Terram: the forbidden moon. The Evil Queen rules the planet and under her command, soldiers chase down AL15 throughout her journey. She meets strange creatures along the way, and witnesses how horrifying life is on the planet. Unbeknownst to her, she is slowly paving the way to end the Evil Queen’s regime. Vol. 1 then closes with AL15 jumping into a wormhole used to smuggle people in and out of the Somnium Terram: the dreamland. According to the planet dwellers, she has a better chance of finding her way home there. Or so, that’s what they think.
Jumping into Vol. 2, AL15 lands and immediately realizes that Somnium Terram is nothing like the stories. Right from the get-go, she has to run from dragons and laser-shooting robots. Although up in one piece, she is stuck in a room filled with robot wasps. It sprays weird gas on her, and somehow—she’s out. Talk about bad luck! AL15 opens her eyes, flabbergasted. Now, she is off to an entirely new place, wearing a flashy red gown too! Where is she and why is there a maze in the middle of a party?
Meanwhile, another ship lands on Mirror Terram right as AL15 enters the wormhole. Bearing guns and burning desperation; Cassiopeia Lewis – otherwise known as AL15’s mother – arrives in search of her lost daughter. The planet dwellers assure Cassiopeia and both parties tell their part of the story. After hearing each other out, Cassiopeia and the spaceman decide that this is now a contest of time and there’s none of it to waste! Will AL15 and her mother reunite again? Well, that’s for you to find out yourself!
One of the best things about AL15 is De La Mare’s art style; realism. For some, it might seem weird for a comic to not have that “cartoony style”. But that’s exactly why I love it. It’s refreshing and unique, and the characters always resemble someone we know in real life. Secondly, the colors play a huge role in telling the story. Through varying palettes, De La Mare indirectly tells the readers where AL15 is. Blues for underwater, greens for land, browns for crowded spaces, and so on. After being sprayed with the weird gas, she’s now in a world painted with bold, festive colors that all seem fake. That in itself is a clue! In addition, the transition between panels of AL15 and Cassiopeia is brilliant. A lot of writers and illustrators struggle with walking the readers over two scenes at once but not in AL15. In fact, the narration makes it easy!
Looking forward, I can envision AL15 as a fantasy trip around the universe. With the way it is now, we can only hope for another full-blown adventure in the next volumes!
Does the blood of a sci-fi enthusiast run through your nerves? Or perhaps, does anything universe-related excite you? If so, then AL15 Vol. 2: Broken Dreams might just be the one you’re looking to read. Get a copy now at major bookstores like Waterstones and Barnes and Noble. Tell us all your space adventure needs in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twitter!
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