If I had to describe Cicadian Rhythms in one word it would be “whirlwind.” Everything favors speed in Madius Comics’ latest debut (and that was before I bothered to look up “cicadian rhythms” and realized that has to do with time, too – 24-hour cycles, like sleep, to be precise).
Luckily, dragons aren’t that regular (or at least their cycles take much longer to complete) but, eventually, their time comes to crash the party and the patrons of Horatio’s Hole chose the wrong night to go drinking in this special one-shot issue.
While you may recognize some of the characters and situations in Cicadian Rhythms (regular folks holding their own inside a bar), here’s what writers Rob Jones and Michael Sambrook, and artist Gustavo Vargas add to the mix.
- While there is a hero character, who comes in last minute and lets everyone know what’s coming, there’s no time to spare. That means on the off chance some people would’ve run, that option’s off the table. It’s face the dragons, or…well, see my next bullet point. But before you do, know this, too: Rhythms’ hero isn’t there to do all the saving for them. Thanks to the hero, they have a chance, but ultimately whether they survive or not is down to them, and that’s how it is, when the dragons show-up. They’re on their own. While that makes it slightly a shame, when the battles go by so quickly, what’s shown leaves an impression, especially when you see the layout Vargas uses for the first onslaught – dragons flying right at you, while parallelogram-shaped panels depict our non-heroes-turned-heroes using objects they have on hand to fight this major threat.
- Not everyone comes out of Cicadian Rhythms alive. There are disembodied heads, disembodied arms. A lot of disembodied body parts. Faced with all that carnage, it’s important to know what tone a series is going for, and while we’re dealing with unhardened warriors, you wouldn’t know it from their lack of squeamishness and emotion when it comes to their dead. Speed works again to make to make sure this reads as offbeat and funny, not callous, like an episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead, with dragons instead of deadites. There’s no time to grieve when you have dragons coming at you from all sides.
- Have I mentioned how well time is integrated into every aspect of this issue? Just look at who dies and you’ll see a correlation between those who take too long and those who hit the chopping block. Sometimes the panels can be a little chaotic or cramped, but that’s also reflective of the situation they’re in (and Jones’ lettering never falters). Other times you have our hero mounting a dragon and flying away in the same panel and it perfectly captures the speed at which events are changing so fast.
A closing twist coincides with a cinematic last page that proves how timeless dragons can be, and while I’ve been vague about our hero to preserve their cloaked entrance, their profile raises ten-fold from the ending, as well.
For an LGBTQ+ positive comic about dragons, Cicadian Rhythms can be found at the Madius Comics table on September 22nd at Thought Bubble, alongside their other Thought Bubble debut, The Incredible Bun #1. Both will be available online sometime after that.