Jin tries to form a bond with the youngest of his captors. He hopes, but does not know for sure, that Kaya will try to save him. Will Kaya and her companions be able to find him in the Poison Lands? Find out in Kaya #8 from Image Comics!
Writer: Wes Craig
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: AW’s Tom Napolitano
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 24, 2023
Previously in Kaya: Jin remembers when the Atrian robots destroyed his village while searching for him, and he first learned he was the Golden One. Now he finds himself in chains, being dragged through the Poison Lands by a group of mutants. Is he special and magical, or was Kaya correct when she told him there was no such thing as magic? Meanwhile, Kaya along with Seth, Muska, and Nepta, follow the mutants’ trail. They reach the Poison Lands and Seth soon loses the physical trail as tracks get absorbed into the soil rapidly. Muska claims he can follow their quarry by scent.
A DIRE AND HOSTILE LAND
Kaya #8 opens as the mutants with Jin in tow reach the Atrian robot. The large mutant is Prince Zewl who wants to take back his father’s throne. His uncle tries to be more diplomatic. They had a deal with the Atrians. They have brought the child. Now they are expecting something in return, specifically an Atrian army to help them.
The Atrian robot, who calls himself Lord Vox, has not brought an army. Why, he asks, would he bring them into hostile lands? When Prince Zewl demands the army they were promised, Lord Vox states he misunderstood the deal. He will give them money and weapons, but not soldiers. Jin scratches a symbol into the ground before he is on the move again. Like the footprints Seth tried to follow, his scratchings sink into the ground without a trace.
Kaya and her group are still on the trail, and we hear from a narrator who was part of the mutants’ group, which is interesting. Kaya spots their fire, and them, but they are too far away to reach easily. Nepta sees a boat far below them. Perhaps they could move faster by water. But the water is far below them.
They start the treacherous descent slowly. Then they see several large, flying creatures headed their way. As the little group clings to their rope and the cliff, several large bat-like creatures fly out of a cavern. Kaya’s party are all knocked off the cliff. Kaya can only hold them up for so long, even with her magical arm. Eventually, everything gives way, and they fall the rest of the way.
The small mutant in charge of Jin is called Runt. Jin realizes that the older mutant helping Prince Zewl is his father, and he asks the young one why they are helping the Atrians. This is all about family – a usurper sits on the throne, and they are all helping Zewl get back what is theirs. Runt does not trust the Atrians. Jin begs him to let him free.
Flying creatures attack them, and while the mutants are distracted, Jin yanks his chains, pulling Runt off balance. They tumble down a hill until the chain gets snagged around a tree. Jin manages to slide his hands out of the manacles. Lord Vox sees him escape. The terrain is too inhospitable. Jin gets snagged in the vines and Zewl grabs both him and Runt. He turns Jin over to Vox and throws Runt off a cliff. Jin is appalled and confronts the boy’s father about doing nothing. He also threatens him that Kaya is following them and will get them.
Nepta and Seth land near the boat which is full of holes. Worse yet, they cannot spot Kaya.
WHERE BLEAKNESS ABOUNDS
We finally meet Lord Vox in Kaya #8 and get a chance to see what this robot is like firsthand. He is tall and his body shape is humanoid, although his head is dome-shaped and he has only a single eye. He wears an incongruously long and dramatic cape, but I like the way it gives him a bold and distinctive presence. His stance and movements look fluid. I think his distinctive text boxes along with his matter-of-fact speech are what help him come across as a robot. He is a fearsome enemy, but he still might only be the tool of someone else even worse.
We have barely seen the Poison Lands and they live up to their name. There is literally nothing pleasant about them. The waters are bilious green and poisonous. The cliffs Kaya’s group must climb down look like fossilized carapaces of some unpleasant giant sea worms. Plants come in sickly colors and frequently are covered with thorns. Areas that don’t have noxious plants are barren. It probably smells weird too.
BOTTOM LINE: A BOOK YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN
Kaya #8 pulls no punches in sending our young protagonists into serious danger. This issue is exciting and tense and I think it is setting up this arc to be a terrific one.
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Kaya is on Jin’s trail but is dangerously far behind him!