Best Let Sleeping Gods Lie: Sonata #1

by Brendan M. Allen

“The Fall” In this all-new series from David Hine (The Bulletproof Coffin), Brian Haberlin (Witchblade), and Geirrod Van Dyke (Spawn, Medieval Spawn/Witchblade), two cultures clash on a planet they each believe is their Promised Land. The Rans are a peace-loving people, but the Tayans are a race of warriors who seek to colonize and control. The mysterious Sleeping Giants also call this place home, though no one knows if they’re monsters or the gods of legend. And amidst all this, a young woman named Sonata is willing to break all the rules to find her place in this world.

The publisher’s blurb pretty well sums up Sonata #1. Two cultures, both determined to colonize a Goldilocks planet, with very different visions of what that colonizations should look like. Rans seek a symbiotic relationship with the natives and the environment. Tayans pretty much want to dominate whatever they can. Natives, resources, Rans…

David Hine and Brian Haberlin do a reasonable job establishing the rules of this retro-futuristic conflict. The peace loving tribe and their steampunky hybrid tech, the warrior tribe and their cold, industrial city. At the end of the day, though, colonialism is colonialism. Both groups want something from the locals and the landscape. They just have different means of achieving their goals, and it doesn’t seem like either group has a real strong grasp of their own impact.

Haberlin’s linework is a great fit for the content. Shocker, right? Having co-written the script, his visual representation of the concept is fantastic. The tribes have distinct clothing and styles that immediately distinguish them from each other, but also give insight into their cultural attitudes. The creature designs are creepy and weird, fitting well with the steampunk, fantasy,  and apocalyptic themes, and those Sleeping Giants are freaking amazing.

I do have some issues with Francis Takenaga’s lettering. The dialogue is easy enough to read, but the boxed narration played hell on my eyes. I had a really difficult time reading any of the white lettering in those pale green boxes. To be fair, I do require corrective lenses, but even with my regular glasses on, I had a hard time. There just isn’t enough contrast between the color of the text and the color of the background. You can see what I’m describing in several of the included preview pages. Fortunately, the legible dialogue and imagery were strong enough to convey the major plot points.

Sonata #1 is an interesting read. The next couple chapters are really going to determine whether I stick with it. It remains to be seen whether this is going to be a black and white, goodie vs. baddie game, or if there’s a deeper message about the impact of colonialism, regardless of intent. Neither tribe is really blameless, even just in these opening pages. All over this thing, folks are playing with forces they don’t really understand, and if it doesn’t come back to bite them in their happy asses, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

Sonata #1, Image Comics, released 12 June 2019. Story by David Hine and Brian Haberlin, art by Brian Haberlin, color by Geirrod Van Dyke, letters by Francis Takenaga.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

Leave a Reply