Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Dark Awakening: Briar Episode 1 Review

What if Sleeping Beauty's true challenge wasn't the curse but the world she woke up to? 'Briar' redefines the princess's journey, turning it into a fight for survival. Join us as we dissect everything in this gripping first issue.

In a world where traditional fairy tales often promise happy endings, what if Sleeping Beauty woke up to a world far removed from her dreams? Survival becomes her sole imperative as her once-promised happily ever after fades into obscurity. Welcome to "Briar," Episode 1 - a review of Boom Studios' thrilling comic series. Crafted by Christopher Cantwell and brought to life through the stunning cover and illustrations by German Garcia, this dark twist on a classic fantasy tale is bound to captivate readers.

Plot and Storytelling:

The narrative immediately engulfs the reader in its fantastical world, where we encounter Princess Briar Rose, relishing the luxuries that come with her royal status. However, a striking proclamation sets the tone: "I REGRET TO INFORM YOU THE NARRATOR OF MY FAIRYTALE HAS DIED." What follows is a tale of why and how she slept for over a century, blissfully unaware of the world evolving around her. Her prince charming, though, harbors motives other than true love, leaving her in a slumber while he and her father wage wars, exploit resources, and expand their kingdom. It's only a chance encounter with a grave robber and a fateful kiss that awakens her to a vastly transformed world, where survival becomes her ultimate quest.


In this inaugural issue, a myriad of characters graces the pages, albeit briefly, most of them visiting Princess Briar during her enchanted slumber. Her parents, seven fairy godmothers, and friends all make appearances, but as time passes, their visits dwindle. The prince, who initially seems like her savior, reveals a more sinister agenda – a reflection of his power-hungry nature. The narrative's first half is primarily centered around Briar until she crosses paths with slavers and encounters a formidable female warrior named Spider, who might just become her lifeline in this new world filled with monstrous challenges.

Artwork and Visuals:

The artwork, both on the cover and within the pages, is truly captivating. German Garcia's work shines brightly here, skillfully using color to convey the evolving perspectives of the characters. At the outset, the world is drenched in pink, reflecting how Briar views her surroundings through a rosy lens. However, as her familiar world crumbles, Garcia's meticulous attention to detail comes to the fore. Briar's disoriented and haunting appearance after her awakening, with her eyes seemingly drawn into her skeletal features, and the blood on her newfound weapon, are striking examples of how Garcia breathes life into the narrative through visuals.

Writing and Dialogue:

Christopher Cantwell's writing is equally commendable, seamlessly guiding readers into the story with a gripping opening line and engaging prose. Each character is endowed with a unique voice and personality, despite their often-brief appearances. While this first issue leans heavily on its artwork, Cantwell's storytelling prowess is undeniable, ensuring a well-rounded and immersive reading experience.

Themes and Symbolism:

"Briar" Episode 1 touches upon several themes and symbols that resonate differently with each reader. Perhaps it conveys the idea that there's no going back once a choice is made or serves as a warning against meddling with forces beyond our comprehension. It might also symbolize the idea that survival sometimes demands embracing the darker aspects of oneself, as indicated by the use of the giant rat's pelt for protection.


In conclusion, "Briar" Episode 1 marks a stellar beginning to a four-issue series that promises to be an enthralling journey. It undoubtedly deserves a spot in your comic collection. I would rate "Briar" an 8 out of 10, with my only minor quibble being the initial jarring pastel pink color scheme, which caused me to briefly question the comic's overall aesthetic. However, I eagerly anticipate the next issues in the series and encourage you to stay tuned for our upcoming reviews, as we delve deeper into the evolution of Briar's character and the unfolding narrative. It's a tale that promises to reveal a truly formidable and captivating heroine.


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