Reviews, Comics

Kaya #16 Review: Bottoms Up

Discover the latest chapter in Kaya and Jin's journey to becoming the saviors of their beautiful but dangerous fantasy world.

Kaya 16 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesMar 7, 2024, 9:45 AM

Kaya #16

Review
Rating
9
Good
Kaya 16 Full Cover

Writer: Wes Craig

Artist: Wes Craig

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: March 6, 2024

Page Count: 32

Format: Single-issue

Kaya’s latest issue is loaded with world-building, character development, and incredible art. It’s another issue that showcases why Wes Craig is one of the best comic book creators today.

Fantasy comics hold a very special place in my heart because I love the feeling of exploring whimsical worlds filled with magic and strange creatures. So, of course, picking up Kaya by Wes Craig was a no-brainer for me. Since I adored Craig’s work on Deadly Class, Kaya drew me in instantly with its unique mix of fantasy and sci-fi elements. Sixteen issues in, and the series continues to be one of the most visually stunning ongoing comics today. But it's more than just a visual feast, as the comic also has a great story and an interesting cast of characters to boot. With issue #16, Kaya hits a turning point that will leave many readers excited for what’s to come. Continue reading for my full review of the latest issue of Kaya!

Kaya 3 - 2 creatures talking with each otherImage: Image Comics

Overview

Deep within the city of Shazir, Kaya and Jin acquaint themselves with the rebel faction that plans to overthrow the king. The two learn about a magical spring that supposedly has unique healing properties. Naturally, Jin is intrigued to see if the water could rid him of the evil that has latched on to him from the Dark Realm. So, the young boy decides to sneak out in the evening to take a drink from the spring, not expecting that the strange water would push his body to its limit. But his little escapade couldn’t have happened at a worse time because the Robot Army finally touches down on Shazir, forcing the rebels to enact their plans much sooner than expected. 

Review

What’s incredible about Kaya as a series is how diverse the story arcs are in their settings and themes. The bustling City of Shazir has been a refreshing change of pace from the lush but dangerous wilderness we’ve seen plenty of in story arcs 1 and 2. The city setting has made for the perfect backdrop to introduce many different races and cultures that walk across the comic’s vibrant fantasy world. With the rebel army alone consisting of characters resembling bears, deer, birds, and even crustaceans, you get a sense of how much of a melting pot the city is. It also serves as a reminder of how Kaya and Jin, as humans, are viewed as a dying breed. In a way, Kaya reminds me a bit of Saga with how it’s a series that always feels great to return to whenever new issues drop. The world Wes Craig has created for this series is so full of life that you can’t help but be excited to see what discoveries there are at every turn. 

Kaya 3 - 2 creatures talking with each other 1Image: Image Comics

The Shazir story arc has also been exceptional at developing Jin’s character. With the responsibility of being the world’s “chosen one” weighing heavy on Jin’s shoulders, this latest issue has him making a grave mistake while thinking he’s doing the right thing. After all, Jin has the burden of carrying the responsibility of his newfound magical powers and dealing with the evil force that latched on to him since his near-death experience in the Dark Realm. So, of course, he’s going to gulp down magical spring water in hopes of solving all of his problems in one go. This issue shows that, despite how much Jin has changed physically and mentally, he’s still just a kid with so much room to grow. It might be the shonen manga enjoyer in me talking, but this part of the story has me so engrossed because I love characters who face immense internal struggles on their journey to becoming something great. With the series inching closer to its story arc finale, I expect Jin to overcome this new challenge triumphantly with a big jump in his powers.

Final Thoughts

Kaya is easily one of the most rewarding series to follow monthly from Image Comics. With its consistently great art, engaging story, and compelling characters, what more could you ask for from a comic? The series has been a wild adventure from start to finish, and I can see it going on for a very long time. You simply can’t go wrong with a comic book created by Wes Craig. 

Kaya 3 - soon goneImage: Image Comics

Why You Should Read Kaya

  • Wes Craig’s art meshes beautifully with Jason Wordie’s vibrant colors and Tom Napolitano’s lively lettering.
  • It’s exciting to explore more of this comic’s fantastical world.
  • Jin’s character development is fascinating as he struggles to bear his powers and fate.

TAGGED: Image Comics
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