From experienced writer Jay Faerber (Point of Impact, Near Death) and artist John Broglia (Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures, Mice Templar), Denali delivers an intense burst of snow-tinged action-adventure in eight excellently drawn pages. Despite the limited space the creators introduce readers to a strange and seemingly post-apocalyptic world, shrouded in winter snow and inhabited by pelt-wearing barbarians.
Focused around the contents of a battered school bus Denali is at once both simple and tantalizingly intricate, with a refreshing lack of exposition for a piece set in a newly created world that helps to enhance the comic’s rhythm. The protagonists are as odd as the world they inhabit, with what seems like magic and future technology users mixed with mythical creatures forming our group of heroes. With brief glimpses of odd animals and items and a background featuring what appear to be the ruins of the modern world, a nice balance of the familiar and unusual is struck.
The pacing of this short is perfect; there is no panel wasted and no sense of the story having been compressed or curtailed to fit. This is assisted in no small part by the art and colouring that is at once both clear and kinetic, helping the story land its narrative beats but not at the expense of exhibiting the intensity of the action taking place.
With its intriguing setting, unlikely heroes and mysterious MacGuffin, Denali is a satisfyingly complex tale for a short, but at the same time leaves you interested in the broader themes and ideas behind the world in which is it based.