CODEX BLACK (BOOK ONE): A FIRE AMONG CLOUDS/ Written and Illustrated by CAMILO MONCADA LOZANO/ Inking Assistance by ONIRIA HERNANDEZ VARGAS/ Colors by ANGEL DE SANTIAGO/ Flats by CHRIS EUBANK/ Published by IDW ORIGINALS
At 15-years-old, Donaji is already the bravest and strongest girl in her village and recognized as a great hero. She has even been given the honor of wearing the poncho that acts as a vessel for the god of strength! Yet Donaji’s heart is heavy, for her father disappeared over ten years ago, leading to her quest to find him.
Itzcacalotl is a washout of a warrior, barely tolerated and never liked. Nobody missed him when he wandered off and accidentally became trapped in an abandoned temple. Nobody was there to comfort him when he suddenly grew the wings of a crow, thanks to his accidentally awakening something in the temple.
Two loners, lost in the jungle and united by chance… or was it destiny? For the jungles hold many threats, including a bat monster who menaces the first village to offer them support. Thus will Donaji and Itzcacalotl join forces and become friends and heroes.
Codex Black was first published in 2018 as a web comic, published in regular chapters over the years that followed. The series was unique and soon developed a following. Now, IDW Originals is publishing Codex Black as a graphic novel, with full-color illustrations.
As a mythology buff, I enjoyed this series immensely, for it taught me a fair bit about a culture of which I’m sadly ignorant. Beyond that, the story is engaging, if somewhat slow to start as the setting is established. Camilo Moncada Lozano is a gifted storyteller and a even more gifted artist, whose style evokes the finest traditions of Shonen manga while still being steeped in Mesoamerica culture and mythology. The colors by Angel De Santiago are also fantastic.
I recommended Codex Black for anyone looking for a change of pace from the usual young adult graphic novels or something devoted to a culture that doesn’t get a lot of representation in the world of comics. The characters are spirited, the story is fun and the artwork is amazing and eye-catching.
Codex Black: Book One arrives in stores on April 4, 2023.