Comics, Reviews

Kroma TPB Review: The Power of Color

Discover the vibrant and brutal fantasy world created by powerhouse comic book artist Lorenzo De Felici.

Kroma Cover
Image: Skybound
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:05 AM

Kroma TPB

Review
Rating
9
Good
Kroma TPB Full Cover

Writer: Lorenzo De Felici

Artist: Lorenzo De Felici

Publisher: Skybound

Release Date: June 6, 2023

Page Count: 192

Format: Comic

Kroma delivers a heartfelt story about a girl fighting to survive in a world that only sees things in black or white.

Color is a big part of everyday life. More than making the world look pretty, colors speak a language without saying a word. They tell us when to stop or go. They express and influence emotions just by the sight of them. Colors have the power the change the way how we perceive things. Especially within comics, colors are just as much a part of telling the story as the text and illustrations.

This graphic novel Kroma is artist Lorenzo De Felici's love letter about the power of color and how it is integral to our lives. Having started his career in the comic book industry as a colorist, De Felici developed a never-ending fascination with color. While his skills in how to color got better, what fueled his passion were the whys and whens of color. Realizing the importance of color sparked the creation of this beautifully told story about a girl discovering who she is in a world that sees things in only black or white.

Let’s dive into my review of Lorenzo De Felici's Kroma from Skybound and Image Comics.

The elder speaks to his people

Story Overview

The last remnants of mankind live within the secluded and colorless walls of The Pale City. It’s the only place safe from the color-sensitive eyes of monstrous lizards that feed on human blood. To keep their city “pure,” the people of The Pale City cast out all forms of color from their lives, even going as far as dying their food and skin pale white. For generations, these people have lived in fear of the pain and death brought by color. They believe the King of Color was the one who created the vicious beasts as an age-old punishment against man.

As a reminder of the horrors that lurk outside of The Pale City’s walls, the elder hosts a yearly ritual centered on brutalizing a young descendant of the King of Color, who they have held captive for years. The child is dressed in the bones of a lizard to play into the story that what everyone is chasing after is truly a monster. Everything changes when a young, curious boy named Zet sees what the “monster” really is. He sees not a beast but a girl with the most beautiful colored eyes he’s ever laid his colorless eyes on.

The girl with colored eyes is the titular Kroma. Together, she and Zet set out to defy the foundation of their lives and discover what it truly means to be human.

A monster bursts from its egg

Review

Creator Lorenzo De Felici crafted a world that is both visually stunning and narratively compelling. By throwing you right into The Pale City’s biggest cultural event, the story quickly establishes the status quo that color is evil to these people. Not only have they completely lost their appreciation for the beauty of color, but they also live in fear of it. At first, I thought the people being devoid of color was a stylistic choice, like in Frank Miller’s Sin City. But in Kroma, the physical absence and presence of color are central to the story’s narrative.

I immediately felt drawn in to learn more about these people and why they feared color. Considering the miniseries ran for four issues, I was impressed by how each chapter is rich with nuanced world-building. It explored what life is like in and outside of the Pale City. Characters often reference what happened in the past, either talking about historical events or the traditions and myths that shaped their society. The more I learned about the Pale City’s society, the more I felt the tragedy of their lives. But by the end, the comic paints a vibrant picture of a world with plenty of hope left despite being torn apart by fear.

Being a story that uses color as its focal point, Kroma has plenty of visual storytelling moments that play on contrasts. The first thing you see in the comic is a forest scene filled with color and life. That warm feeling quickly fades when the story draws closer to The Pale City. There is where colors become less prominent and the mood feels cold and somber. It’s through subtle artistic touches like the bright blue sky shining over the city that remind you it’s the city itself that is unnatural in the world. The constant interplay of contrasts like that, whether visually or narratively, makes the beauty and horrors of the world more apparent.

Kroma walks outside

Final Thoughts

Kroma is a short and sweet fantasy graphic novel with a lot of heart and passion put into it. Knowing Lorenzo De Felici’s roots in the comic book industry come from coloring makes the comic’s story feel more personal. It’s inspiring to see a creator get to tell a story with such a deep connection to their life in a highly creative way. Just by looking at how stunning each page of Kroma is, I can say De Felici succeeded in capturing his love for colors and the beauty of comics.

Why You Should Read Kroma

  • The comic is a visual treat from start to finish
  • It presents a unique fantasy world
  • The story is short but rich with world-building
  • Plenty of exciting twists and turns
TAGGED: Reviews, Creator Owned, Skybound
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