This opening chapter of Chronicles of Ivy mostly concerns itself with a high tech heist; the theft of a valuable treasure from a supposedly impregnable vault. Two companions – Milo Silverthorn and Isabelle Roshan – virtually and physically break into the vault respectively, with the prize at stake being much more than it appears to be.

Chronicles of Ivy pulls together threads from fantasy, cyberpunk and pop culture to create something pretty unusual. Artist Renzero, also on writing duties – uses an unusual photo-realistic style that doesn’t always succeed – characters can look a little stiff and expressionless, for example – but when it gels with the material, it’s fantastic.

The scenes of Milo hacking through the vault’s security system took me right back to Neuromancer and the sci-fi comics of the 80s, which occasionally adopted a similarly digital feel. It’s here where the art feels perfectly implemented; a slice of neo-noir retro-futurism that’s incredibly evocative of 80s cyberpunk.

The action sequences work brilliantly in this style too; it’s only in the quieter moments, with characters seeming a little blank in terms of their expressions, or perhaps too stiffly posed, that it doesn’t quite work.

The story is stuffed with characters and there’s clearly a lot of threads and plenty of lore still to come. I can’t say that I totally understood each chracter’s part in the story – or where the tale may be taking us – but it’s clear that this issue is laying the groundwork for further chapters.

It’s an intriguing start at least, with some neat visual touches and plenty of lore that’ll no doubt become clearer as the story progresses.

It’s also an impressive achievement by Renzero – and I look forward to checking out more issues to see where the creator is taking us.

Chronicles of Ivy Episode 1 is currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo. You can check out the campaign right here.

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