Fanta-SAW Island

Sep 20, 2022

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Mad Cave Studios

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Nature's Labyrinth Cvr

It’s okay if you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but don’t ignore the fact that something is coming out the other end. Are you being offered something for nothing or is this getting exactly what you deserve? A group of 8 passengers are setting sail on an all expense paid trip; for reasons unknown. In Nature’s Labyrinth # 1 from Mad Cave Studios an all expense get away turns into a game of get out alive.

Nature’s Labyrinth

Mad Cave Studios

Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Bayleigh Underwood
Colors: Warnia Sahadewa
Letters: Rus Wooton

The issue opens with Zac Thompson introducing us to the participants onboard the ship. Given society’s eagerness to promote self and success – their FLOURISHING – it was odd to see such a low acceptance rate. Out of 230 offers only 8 people accepted the trip. But, with the selection criteria, maybe the others passed because they are as trusting as they are trustworthy.

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There is no escaping the truths of our reality trapped in these pages. From the participants eagerness to accept without reading the fine print to the COVID testing before boarding. Thompson shows this is no mere story of criminals receiving their comeuppance. Things quickly turn from a celebration to a psychological picture of privilege. So far it’s hard to determine the true devil without some more details. Is it the rich imposing their own brand of social justice? Or those too callous to care about what they are doing – to themselves or others?

Nature's Labyrinth Img

Artistically Nature’s Labyrinth lives up to its mythical inspirations. Baleigh Underwood’s art brings each of these characters to life – despite how much longer they live. You get a good idea of each one’s personalities by the expressions Underwood gives them. The names each one receives upon their arrival hints at what they did to earn their place on the ship. The fact the group is quite eclectic does ask the question of whether it was one scheme that earned them all their spot.

The tone of the story shifts once the true intentions of Ahab, the organizer, are revealed. This allows Warnia Sahadewa to create a bright, Mediterranean feel in the issues opening panels. Creating a relaxing environment does a lot to put both the guests and the reader at ease in this setup. Later as they awaken inside a maze, the jungle atmosphere adds a savage element – something their benefactor certainly has in store for them. But, the panels contain enough light elements to remind readers they are on an island – suggesting stars in the sky above.

Ahab’s organization has assembled a group of criminals to teach them a lesson. With a cash prize is the goal to teach them to work with others or the errors of their ways? Given the lengths they have already gone to – an island full of traps and tracking technology – it doesn’t seem like they are being very nurturing. Seems like this is just an example of Nature’s Labyrinth.

Score: 8.5

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