Shards: Volume 2 pulls together six completely different stories, each with a unique voice and bubbling a variety of emotions up to the surface. This anthology introduces characters from a world of light and darkness with mythological creatures, an ancient tale of a servant trying to understand her destiny, the strong-willed daughter of a barber who doesn’t take any flak from anyone, and the life of a prison guard which reads like listening to a slam poet perform on stage. In each of these stories, there seems to be a consistent theme – trying to discover one’s identity.
Identity plays a major role in the anthology’s lead story, “Cache,” originally debuting as a sneak peek at the conclusion of the first anthology. Creator Digo Salazar writes and illustrates “Cache,” bringing vibrant colors and serious attitude to the table. Salazar has a solid handle on details, producing realistic lighting and shadows that make the landscapes and weaponry much more vivid. I love seeing a tough and intelligent female lead, and Nem is just that. She can identify a perilous situation before it happens, while also having the gritty wherewithal to help her new friend.
Oh, this new friend – she calls “Five” – happens to have no memory or understanding of the world he finds himself in. As for fantastic moments, who doesn’t love an amazing jump scene? Even more so, when it involves trains, I’m sold. A subway train is barreling down the tracks, and a massive leap is needed to land onto the platform. I’m thinking The Matrix when Neo has to do the same to escape Agent Smith, and Salazar gives us amazing panel sequences that capture his own Matrix-like moment.
As “Cache” is the first story in Shards: Volume 2, I’ll also highlight the last story in this collection, “Flipside.” Writer Danielle Rueda and artist Bianca Lesaca create a story that we need in our lives. “Flipside” follows the love-at-first-sight meeting between Michelle and Jacob, and their seemingly never-ending story to happiness. Rueda and Lesaca tell a story that balances delicately back and forth between different points in these characters’ lives, including the good and the bad.
Michelle and Jacob are lovebirds; it’s obvious, but true frustrations highlight both anger-filled conversations and lighthearted, I-can’t-go-to-sleep-because-I’m-so-hungry humor. These singular moments let me form a bond in a short amount of time, making the end of this story, and subsequently Volume 2, that much more devastating. Stories that make you question circumstances or leave you hanging on by a thread at the end are what I live for, which is why “Flipside” is perfect. It not only has me grateful to see the “To be continued…” for this story, it has me already excited (again) for another chapter of Shards.
Shards: Volume 2 starts and ends with fantastic storytelling, and what bonds those two stories are dynamic tales that give you fascinating characters and stories that scream for more chapters to be told. Shards: Volume 1, check! Shards: Volume 2, check! Now, what about a third volume, please?
Creative Team: Various
Publisher: In Hiatus Studios
Available in Digital and Print.