I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I'm enjoying this right off the bat, even more so than Fathom. And the thing is that so far, Fathom has a world I understand more on some levels: it's set in the present day and The Blue has a society that's very much like ours, especially when it comes to politics and families and religion. Soulfire doesn't get into that as much, at least not immediately. Set in the future, there's privatized security, which leads Rainier to set his pet, mechanical dragon on a city to gain control over the security of the Northwest Conference. Of course he does, because such a lucrative contract is worth the deaths to him, especially since he doesn't plan on getting caught as the man behind the dragon.
Rainier also knows about, and wants to control, the magic that's been gone from the world. Well, not so much gone as hidden. And when Malikai, the boy who's been reincarnated and is supposed to bring magic back into the light, is born once again, well, Rainier wants him.
Luckily, Mal has friends like Sonia and PJ who look out for him, even at the orphanage where he was dumped by his parents as an infant. He also has people like Grace, a woman with wings and colorful, glowing hair, who want to protect him and see him on his correct path.
Between the time jumps - from the world where magic existed to the present, from holographic games that take place in the past to the present - and the fact that the political forum of the world isn't really explored, I got confused and frustrated. Just a little, but yeah. I especially wanted to know more about the privatization of national security, and how that effected the rest of the political landscape. I may have even expected it because it was so important to Fathom.
I didn't even let go of that annoyance, or expectation; rather, I got sucked into the world and the characters, and simply stopped caring without realizing I had. Turner gets a little looser with his pencils around the dragons, so much so that at first I wondered if he had illustrated this title. When Grace came into play, it was clear that he had: his women are undeniably and unmistakably his own. It's nice to see, though, because as gorgeous as his illustrations are, they all had Michael Turner stamped on them, a little more literally when he did a cover with his name in a box on them. (I notice his inkers and colorists also very clearly stamp their work. I have to wonder if he encouraged them in this, because some artists, inkers and colorists do not do this when doing covers. He owns his work unapologetically and I like to think that he did encourage others to do so, and let the world know.) The evolution of his art is no less stunning, just different.
I do notice some thematic similarities to Fathom: orphaned child who has a special power and prophecy written about them. Said child is good hearted, of course, so much so that they're the best of the best. Said child also has their world turned upside down when they find out about their true heritage. In fact, both Aspen and Mal - or people thinking about Mal - talk about this discovery and what it does to them in very similar terms. How hard it is to deal with this fact, how much it upends their life.
Not that this stopped me from enjoying this any less. Big. Metal. Dragons. Done by Turner. Magic, the future, and it's all just a whole bunch of fun. I was wary of this, having enjoyed Fathom so much from the start. I was afraid that Sophomore Slump would hit and I wouldn't enjoy this as much. Even though I felt there was more in the way of internal politics in Fathom - which I thought would mean me enjoying that series more - I found myself really enjoying Soulfire even more. Fun times, and it was kind of nice exploring a world that doesn't mimic our own as much because there's a little more wiggle room, a little more that allows me to use this as escapism.