Atlas & Axis #1 Review

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Posted January 10, 2018 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written By: Pau

Art By: Pau

Published By: Titan Comics

It’s been about a year since we’ve had a new Autumnlands book, which means it’s been about a year since I’ve reminded everyone that I’m a sucker for talking animals. I grew up on Redwall, so anything with a dash of adventure and fur is apt to pique my interest, be it a kid’s property or no. Atlas & Axis is here to fill a void, I suppose, though it’s certainly more Redwall than Autumnlands. It’s not a bad thing, but I can’t change the fact that I’m a 28 year old man. Sometimes I want a bit more than a good time with a fun aesthetic.

Regardless!

Atlas & Axis does something I haven’t seen before with the talking-animal people style, and that’s make them really act like animals. Most of the characters we see are dogs, and dogs they are. They’re hyper, a bit dumb, forgetful, eat out of bowls, and sniff each others’ butts. It’s an interesting dichotomy that maybe doesn’t work. On the one hand, it’s cute and certainly new. Pau writes dogs like how dogs should be written. On the other hand, there are vikings and battles to be fought, and the lack of sophistication doesn’t really fit. Atlas and Axis are on a quest to avenge their friends who were murdered in a viking raid, and having them stop to mark their territory takes some of the umph out of what they’re trying to accomplish.

The hyper, forgettable nature of being a dog also comes into play in a way that’s a bit awkward. Atlas actually witnesses a pirate attack in the opening pages, yet by the time he’s gotten to Axis, he’s mostly forgotten about it. This lets the plot zoom in a bunch of different directions without really committing to anything. It takes the weight out of a few plot points. I’m not sure I’d call it great storytelling, though like I said above, it’s still kind of fun.

What is interesting is Atlas’s urge to eat another talking animal that’s lower on the food chain. That the buzzards were doing it seems fine–buzzards are buzzards–but the talking dogs come off as too nice for what would be cannibalism in a loose sense of the word.  I can’t tell how this fits into the world just yet, though it’s not the first talking-animal people story to fumble the food chain. Still, something to consider.

Tonally the book isn’t that much darker than a Redwall novel, so I’d say it’s fine for kids. I grew up on Redwall and turned out alright. Some of the humor is pretty immature, but it fits the aesthetic and the world. I wasn’t offended, though I didn’t laugh much.

Doubt I’m the intended audience though.

Artistically the book is fun. There’s a lot of nice colors and movement, and you get a pretty good sense of scale. It looks like a friendly cartoon, though some of the violence/immaturity clash with it at times. It fits the story well enough.

Atlas & Axis #1 is a fun little romp through a fantasy world I’m hoping I’ll be interested in returning to next month. I want to say I’m ready for more, but while I like what’s here and think there’s some cool world building going on, this one feels a bit more “kids property” than what I’d like. It’s a fine cartoon, but I don’t have the nostalgic connection to it like I do with Redwall. Worth a look if you got kids; worth a look if you want something fun but not all that intellectually stimulating.

 

Atlas & Axis #1



Atlas & Axis #1

7

Final Score

7.0/10

Pros

  • Cute adventure story with talking animals
  • Nice sense of movement/action
  • Artwork is pretty spiffy
  • World building is interesting

Cons

  • Some little tonal issues
  • More a kid's property than anything else
  • World building is interesting



About the Author

Chad Waller

Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company working on their first game, The Regret of Vitrerran. He also likes to write, preferring fiction and poetry, but also the occasional book review or video game essay. You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.