IRON by Shane-Michael Vidaurri

Shane-Michael Vidaurri

Archaia is well known for the quality books it releases. Wonderful story mixed with vibrant, often unique art are commonplace for the entertainment company. Keeping with the grand tradition of brilliance is the subtle “Iron or the War After.”

An unnamed war has past in this world of constant winter. The characters, all depicted as different types of anthropomorphic animals, have all been scarred in some ways. Many dealt with their pain poorly, some refuse to acknowledge it, while others just keep reliving it. A group of aging “anarchists” continue to rebel against their leaders through bombings and the like. They are being tracked by the police. Disorganized and rash police. And when kids come involved the story takes a turn to focus on them. And what happens with children of rebels suffer for the their parents actions.

Shane-Michael Vidaurri crafts a beautiful story full of melancholy and pain. It’s not meant to be an action movie and would have failed if it tried. Instead it’s more interested in the stories of the characters as these unrealistic animals suffer from realistic consequences. The painted style that Vidaurri uses is stunningly gorgeous. Blue and gray hues are used to create the cold atmosphere, not just in scenery but in the words that are said and the actions that happen. No one is or can be happy in this story. There are missions and higher callings that need to happen.

However, the writing is able to show that that isn’t the main story. The focus changes and you don’t mind. You want to follow it wherever it goes. Vidaurri subtly engrosses you to keep reading. Everything you learn or don’t learn matters. At the end you’re satisfied and wish the characters better for their lives. That kind of emotion is what “Iron” is able to invoke.