Review by Cameron Hatheway.
When we last visited the fine folks at Hollow Press, they had just released the 700+ page wordless graphic novel LARGEMOUTHS by Gabriel Delmas, featuring giants and ancient fantasy landscapes. This time around, they’re going in a different direction entirely–underground! THE DIM REVERBERATION OF THE CHAOSHOLDER by Arallu was recently released, and it’s definitely intriguing as it is eerie. This first volume, known as the “1st Seal: A Crippled Baby ‘N’ The Obsidian Golem, Towards The she-Outcast” is a subtitle just as complicated as the main series title, but alerts the reader that this journey will be an ongoing one, so keep your eyes peeled for future “seals.”
Presented as a “dungeon crawler comic,” Arallu treats the format as a first person shooter video game, with the reader playing the part of the Obsidian Golem. Our guide throughout the comic is one N’tar the Shrewd, a skittish and talkative creature who helps you escape from an underground prison. He feeds you nuggets of backstory along the way, such as you have the ability to control the dust around you, and the reason he’s helping you escape is because a being named Hasabbah is forcing him to. This Hasabbah has some big plans for you down the line. Along the way you run into other underground workers, prison guards, and rickety old bridges. The twists and turns into different rooms can sometimes leave you disoriented, but I definitely got nostalgic for DUKE NUKEM 3D when reading this comic. Eventually you meet the she-Outcast, and that’s when things get even more interesting.
The art is very grim, alien, and gives a wonderful sense of dread. When you think of an underground dungeon, Arallu delivers in spades. There’s mixed media at play here, with charcoal playing with crisp inks, giving a very dirty feeling to the reader throughout. The textured paper (“tintoretto”) helps the illustrations pop, and yet helps add to the gritty world that he’s created. If it’s one thing I’ve always loved about Hollow Press, it’s their consistent quality when pairing both art and paper. These underground comix are made to last a long time, and be enjoyed by the masses.
I had a lot of fun exploring this world Arrallu has created, and can’t wait to go deeper down the rabbit hole when the 2nd seal eventually comes out. You can purchase your copy here, and check out the entire Hollow Press catalog here. Available in English, Italian, and Japanese.
The Dim Reverberation Of The Chaosholder – 1st Seal: A Crippled Baby ‘N’ The Obsidian Golem, Towards The she-Outcast
$19.37, Limited Edition of 1,000 copies
32 pages + dust jacket
Full-Color, Offset Print
Printed on “tintoretto” paper of 200g
Embossed title on the front cover