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Character and World-Building (Sonata #4 Review)


Story: David Hine & Brian Haberlin

Artist: Brian Haberlin

Colorist: Geirrod Van Dyke

Letterer: Francis Takenaga

Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: 8/10

Sonata #4 arrives today and I’ve been getting more and more excited due to the massive world-building in this book! Issue #1 automatically delivers a ton of details in this universe, and Van Dyke’s gold, brown, copper, and metallic digitally-colored surfaces over Haberlin’s medium-ink textures give us a remarkable fantasy, steampunk world. The art allows a detailed look at the characters and planets behind them, consisting of rocky, spiked mountains where lightning strikes, rain pours heavily, and multiple moons illuminate. 

 If you’re following this monthly series, each issue delivers us new creatures and details, as the clear narration alternates between the three main classes of characters - the Rans, the Tayans, and the Lumanis. I do recommend reading the series first, yet if you’re not apt to reread them, here’s a brief run-down: 

Perdita is a planet filled with abundant resources such as water and food. The Rans call this planet Perdita, the Lost World, while the Tayans call it Vianna. Both groups came to establish colonies here for its rich supplies. It takes planet Ran five cycles of orbit to get close enough to planet Perdita in order for the Rans’ ships to get close enough to travel there.

Sonata and her people, the Rans, consider themselves peaceful, optimistic, and one with nature. They are matriarchal as Matari is the woman in charge, yet democratic in essence as every adult has a voice in their settlement. The Rans ride golden, toucan-beaked dinosaurs called Thermasaurs, and travels to Perdita in balloon airships due to planet Rans limited resources. They call their settlement New Salomar. Moreover, the Tayans believe the Rans have impressive technology despite their choice not to carry weapons. 

Here, we see ostentatious Sonata before she makes a backflip over these primitive creatures from Perdita called Grimkats. “He thinks I should learn a little humility but I just can’t help myself. Besides, it’s so much fun!”

Braman, Sonata’s father talks with their monstrous friends, the Lumanis, as they spotted a chemical-smelling dam the Tayans have built in order to divert water from River Petros to their settlement. There’s enough for everyone but the Tayans do not want to share, so Braman and Treen, one of the Lumanis, are off to discuss with the Tayans! On the other hand, the Lumanis are able to communicate through long distances, and have a mysterious secret behind them despite the Tayans thinking they are primitive creatures. The Lumanis ride bat-like flying creatures and carriages carried by other animals. 

The Tayans thinks they, themselves, are invaders and warriors, while they look at the Rans as peaceful people. Standing beside his father, the leader of the Tayans, Pau appears empathetic, and he seems to carry this trait from his mother who left their settlement. The Tayans don’t believe in asking for mercy, yet the Rans don’t know too much about their culture. Moreover, they have translators and advanced communicators that are tracked by their satellites so they can communicate with others through long distances. More of them are coming to Vianna from Planet Tayan on the next cycle. 

The Tyans and the Rans believe the Sleeping Gods, or the Sleepers, are their creators, despite the different mythos. The Rans’ Mitari believes the Sleeping Giants planted seeds in Planet Ran which brought growth to their prime female and male who were bound to take care of wildlife and the ecosystem in peaceful abundance. In contrast, the Tyans believe two Sleeping Giants were once fighting in deep space, springing a primitive female and male as one of the dead giant’s blood splashes in planet Tyan. These male and female warriors fought each other for hundreds of cycles creating different weapons until they came to a conclusion that they are equals, and made love until the end of time. 

In the previous issues, the Rans create a plan to use explosives on the Tayans dam, which eventually led to many occurrences and events as Sonata, Pau, and Treen unexpectedly came together apart from their class counterparts. We learn more about the Sleepers and what they can do to off-worlders Rans and the Tyans.

In today’s SONATA #4, we learn more about the Luminers, as well as the history behind Sonata and Pau’s mothers, which may or may not lead to a romance between enemies. Hey, we’ve been waiting for it! Whether or not you like that trope or not, the narratives are methodically laid out, and SONATA continues to take its time with a genuine and enjoyable story-telling.

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