The Chronicles of Shamal is a three chapter comic book made by one person. Set in the Middle-eastern island of Bahrain, read as the story unfold the ancient tale of Shamal, a man who was buried alongside his trusty steed alive by his brother under the Tree of life. To my knowledge, we have not had any comics take place in Bahrain, neither did anyone use any of its landmark as a base for a fictional story in a comic book setting. The Chronicles of Shamal does that.
The premise of the story is clear. There is some mythical things going around the Tree of life, and Shamal the protagonist of the story is somehow related to this. Beyond the incredible premise and the interesting setting, how does it deliver?
The story starts with our protagonist saving a family from a car crash in the present day, while riding his mythical creature. Then immediately we get to see the origin story explained. The transition between the events made sense and it had a strong start. Unfortunately, the story falls apart beyond the beginning, and that consist of confusing time jumps and unexplained plot points. The pacing of the story had some issues, while other parts felt incomplete, sometimes I felt the consistency was lacking, and rushed at other times. I read it twice to make sure I haven’t missed anything, but those holes were still present. Character introductions were weak at times and lack some needed details. The end fight went quick and was one sided, when it had the chance to bring a more two sided battle. To conclude my point, some of the plot points needed more pages of explanation and completion. Despite all of that, the story is straight forward and understandable when you connect the missing points by yourself.
Art style on the other hand is great and unique. Creatures and animals especially are very detailed with a distinct style. Which gives me the impression that Art came before the story since they are coming from the same person. It didn’t feel like a tradational comic book, it had its unique style which I like as I mentioned before. Also, it was a fresh feeling seeing landmarks of my own country in a comic book! How cool is that?!
While The chronicles of Shamal has a great premise to present a fictional story with a unique art style and a new setting, it lacked explanation, pacing and smooth transitions between plot points. Characters needed to be more fleshed out with adding some missing details. What have been told in three chapters could fit in a more fleshed out five chapter arc instead. Despite that, it is a good read for a weekend that I enjoyed as it is the first work of Artist A.L. Thackray in a first attempt to bring something new to comic book fans in Bahrain. I personally am waiting for what is coming next, as the three chapters ended with a cliffhanger for an interesting story to come.
You can read the comic book by yourself and share your thought. It is available over at http://www.desert-comic.com/shop/