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‘Joyama: Volume 1’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Daniel Isles
Published by Dark Horse Comics


As I sit down and pen this review, many things burden my mind. Why do I get to sit inside the comfort of my home and live my life as a group of 19 innocent children were gunned down in Uvalde, Texas?

To write comic book reviews, play video games, and write witty social media posts? Where is the heroism in that? Where is fairness? What could I have done differently before last Tuesday to make a difference?

While I understand the right to bear arms and the need to carry guns are essential in many parts of America. Assault weapons are a Thanos-snap level of power that no one should be able to hold. They are designed to kill the most people with the least amount of time, with minimal skill and no training.

This website is not the time or the place to discuss political ideology or real-world issues. But this one hurts me to the core, and I cannot help but be sorry for the loss of innocent life and extreme anger towards our politicians that continue to do nothing and a police force that cowered in fear of their own lives as children that counted on them needed their support.

As I spoke with my adult sons, who grew up watching anime and playing the same video games that I played, we understand that the hero’s journey leads more than likely leads to death. Suppose you chose to be a hero; you do so with the knowledge that you might not live to reflect upon your life in old age. If you take on the mantle of leadership, do so, knowing the burden of the weight you place upon yourself. You may not live to die another day.

With that being said, Daniel Isles’ Joyama is a beautiful tale told in glorious black and white. Like the anime and video games that I referred to in my opening, Joyama is the tale of the hero’s journey. Not only the hero’s journey but what it means to live your life for the sake of something more important than you, the individual but the group. Both the heroes and the villains of Joyama understand this conceit, and thus the seeds of glorious adventure have been planted in volume one. I came into this book two weeks ago with no expectations and left the book waiting eagerly for volume two.

In Joyama: Volume 1, a recently closed case has been reopened following a high-level assassination, but this was no ordinary takedown.

Long-time friends Ringo, Arwen, and Silas are members of an elite squad known as the Outrider Soldiers, a team of ambitious individuals contracted by prestigious clients and government officials to shakedown organized crime. After receiving intel on the hit, a recently closed case is reopened. With ties to the most notorious crime syndicates and influential figures in the city, the conspiracy surrounding the case deepens, and the danger intensifies. Is the case worth their freedom, their relationships, and their lives?

Joyama: Volume 1 is the work of long-time illustrator first-time writer Daniel Isles who goes by the pen name of DirtRobot. Isles creates an experience in Joyama that is deep, haunting, and resonated with me as one of the best books I have read in 2022.

Final Score: 5 out of 5


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