The Lone & Level Sands
by A. David Lewis,
Marvin Perry Mann
(Archaia, 2006)

I enjoy comics projects that employ Biblical material, as well as those that utilize historical information. The Lone & Level Sands, by writer A. David Lewis and artist Marvin Perry Mann, does both, while building a framework of speculation and creative thought around it.

Sands tells a story of Ramses II, a somehow-prominent historical figure of whom precious little is really known. From what I've seen (40 pages of lettered work, 105 more of panels, sans lettering), this is going to be comics work worth owning.

Lewis pens a wonderfully entertaining tale of a proud, dignified and noble ruler who loves his family and nation, at odds with a man who is driven by sincere conviction. The latter will be familiar to those acquainted with the book of Exodus. The former is a fresh take on a king of long ago, but could be imagined true without clashing with Biblical material.

After all, how many of us could be (or have been) undone by our pride, under the proper circumstances?

The characters are deep and emotional, and certainly the primary source of entertainment in this story. Mann has an art style that, while not complex, is certainly not your run-of-the-mill independent fare. It is reminiscent of animation art, yet replete with mood and emotional overtones. It is consistent, with a mature air; a sense that this is what his style has become after working at it. And, while I believe all good artists seek improvement throughout their career, I could be very happy with Mann's current style from now on.

The Lone & Level Sands could prove one of the best independent offerings of 2006, and is highly recommended for all ages.

by Michael Vance
28 January 2006

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