Bonds Vol.1 is a graphic novel about an unconventional story of a young girl growing up. The story and the art are all done by independent creator Nyriam Nowa.
I admit that the story interested me because it has a female as the protagonist aspiring to be in a space that is usually governed by males. Unlike agenda-driven mainstream stories, this one seems to come from a genuine place.
Typical themes I’ve seen in the last 5 years in female-driven stories consist of the now typical tropes “all men are bad”, “women are mentally and physically superior to men”, or “women can’t have healthy relationships with men”. It’s not that women can’t physically excel but when they do it’s not natural. It takes much mental stability and physical training to even come near that level. Biological females have different strengths and weaknesses than biological men. Why is this fact so difficult to understand? I don’t get it.
Women can endure pain, adapt to situations, and when needed take charge to prevent escalation. In non-physical professions, women can provide the same results as men for example in finance, accounting, project management, etc. In that sense, they can be equal and compete in those fields.
In today’s climate, stories about courageous women that reach that high level because of merit not because of their gender are not popular. They ignore those stories from the past and adapt or reimagine them to the current climate where the female is perfect from the start, did not do any work to get there or go through obstacles and hardships to obtain their position or abilities. Genuine female-driven stories are made unpopular by the mainstream but despite that, there is still a demand for them. I would like more amazing great stories, not mediocre ones.
ABOUT THE CREATOR
Nyriam Nowa is the author and artist of Bonds Volume 1. Last year was the first time seeing her work on her crowdfunding campaign page and later on her Art Station, Instagram, Twitter page, and YouTube Channel.
This project satisfies the demand for original courageous female-driven stories. Written by a talented lady, the story is going to be an interesting saga about sacrifice, courage, and hard work based on merit.
ABOUT BONDS VOL.1
Bonds Vol.1 is a teen/young adult supernatural graphic novel with elements of action, and drama. The book was published by Blood Bond Books which appears to be co-owned by several creators. The book has a shiny thin softcover of good quality with good binding. There is nice art on the front and the back cover. The book itself is somewhat delicate to handle that is if you want to prevent scratches and fingerprints on the cover. The art is presented in black and white.
The spine of the book is blank. To my understanding having the rights metrics is one of the challenges of designing the covers for printing. Being the first project, by this creator I can ignore it. My focus was on the story and the art. I expected a story about hard work and merit, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The main protagonist, Leena Jensen, is a stubborn yet determined granddaughter of the current Alpha, of the South Border Pack, the pack of defender werewolves. At only fifteen she already has her goal set: to become the Alpha. Her reasons are pure, and she will not stray from her path.
Her family consists of her grandparents, Ellias (The Alpha) and Ann (The Luna), and her brother Jessie, the second hot candidate for the Alpha position. He and Leena share a very unique connection of souls and minds which makes them an unbeatable combo.
Another significant character in Leena’s life is Rick Taylor (The Zeta), he is the combat leader, trainer, and mentor of the pack. Lived long enough to gather his own collection of valuable life lessons to share with the younger generations. Always witty and full of jokes to lighten the seriousness of each and every situation.
ABOUT THE STORY
The story takes place in the Sapphire Peninsula, the land of the werewolves. There, supernatural abilities are offset by the dangers that lurk all around them. It is a setup and introduction of the places and main characters of the story.
It all begins with this quote:
“There will always be those who will want to take what is not theirs, People and Werewolves, and there will also be those that will always try to stop them. And there will always be those who witness all of this, and never forget.”
This panel grabbed my attention almost instantly as I equate it to the colonist history from the Caribbean and Latin America. In modern days the middle east would be a great example where governments and the people are fighting to keep their territories including their natural resources. The modern war includes long-distance drone attacks and economic sanctions. Eventually, the opponent will become weak and ready to be taken over. You will always have those who have everything wanting more, be it an authority body (government) or an individual. This will always happen. Therefore, learning to protect and defend what is yours as a country or an individual is necessary.
Now back to the story, at the beginning we see the tragic events that occurred 10 years ago when Leena was only 5 years old. Their pack was attacked and even though they won the fight, little Lenna lost her parents. At that age, she did not understand why they were attacked but knew that she never wanted to lose anyone again. 15 years later, Lenna learns why there was so demand by people, roque werewolves, and other packs.
THE SAPPHIRE PENINSULA
She learns why and how all the Alpha leaders of the Sapphire Peninsula united to defend their land. Leena is a very inquisitive girl and wanted to learn more details about the Alphas of each pack and how the land was from.
In the book, there is a map of the Sapphire Peninsula consisting of five territories with five strong Alphas. They are leaders who protect, fight, and sometimes even die for the wellbeing of their packs. Each territory contributes to the general wellbeing of the land each specializing in a specific area such as Politics & Trade, Finance, Agriculture, Diplomacy, and Defense.
After learning all this Leena decides at the age of 15 that she wants to become an Alpha ta care about and protect her pack. She is immediately faced with the reality that girls naturally don’t become Alphas, but they become a Luna if their mate is an Alpha. Luna has a significant role in the pack.
She knows that when a She-Wolf finds a mate she has to leave her own pack to live with her mate and his pack. That’s the thing she doesn’t like. She wants to stay with her pack. Her grandparents are not supported with the idea and hope she forgets about it soon.
Poor Leena is now alone in her quest or so she thinks. We meet Rick, who seems to have a mind connection with her telling her she is not alone. He seems to be her friend and annoying her. We also learn that he is a Zeta, the one who takes care of proper communication in the pack,or so he says.
So, they talk about what is bothering Leena and he is surprisingly supportive of her goal to become Alpha. However, he makes sure to make her understand how risky that decision is and how it can have negative consequences if it’s done for the wrong reasons by telling her the story of a female alpha he used to know.
This story is very important for girls to read so I won’t give further details but let’s just say it gives a great example of how a girl who chooses to do something for the wrong reasons attracted a negative outcome for herself. Themes in the story include ignorance, self-preservation, loyalty, mental instability, authoritarianism, rejection, cruelty, murder, disobedience, and betrayal.
Leena understands the message of the story and reiterates her desire to become Alpha because she has a good drive for it, wanting to protect and take care of those she loves. Eventually, Rick gives in and promises to help her. In comes, Jessie looking for Leena to read comics with him, the newest “Mudman” issue. At that moment, Rick is mentally contacted by the Alpha. It’s time for both kids to learn how to defend themselves.
Surrounded by people who don’t think she has what it takes, can Leena prove them wrong, and protect the ones she holds dear by becoming the next Alpha? But what does it mean to be the Alpha in the first place?
One thing in Leena’s favor is having the right drive that will help her overcome challenges. The right drive is having an understanding that entering a field that is naturally not yours will require hard work to achieve the goal based on merit and give your all to achieve the goal.
By the end of the story, we see on the following page an illustration of Rick’s Human-Wolf Transformation followed by a 7 pages story of the Mudman comic Jessie and Leena were reading. Mudman, the birth of a Legend by Nyriam & Redgaze. On the last page, we see the introduction of a new character from Volume 2. Are you interested yet? I can’t wait to learn what happens next!
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING PROJECT
The printed packaging of this project has been my favorite so far. It’s so pretty makes you want to preserve it. Bear in mind that at this point I have only backed a few projects. I know there have been impressive, printed packaging before but Bonds was the first one I received.
I was very happy with the content of the package which consisted of the book, 2 art prints, a bookmark, and 3 trading cards, one of the Alpha, and the 2 remaining cards of Dell Lucan and Liam Wilson are characters did not come up in the main story of this first issue so I’m guessing they will be in the next? And maybe one of them appears at the end of the book? Trading cards of the 5 alphas would have been cool. It can still be done, I guess.
I was very satisfied with the customer service including follow-up on feedback, the status update reports, and the shipping information (tracking number). I backed the campaign during the funding phase. By now I get the distinction between the “Funding” and “InDemand” phases of Indiegogo campaigns. In this case, those that backed the project during the funding phase get their names in the book as recognized backers. How awesome is that?
Backing crowdfunded entertainment has its benefits but also its challenges. There are many backer experiences that differ from each other. If you are new you have to make sure you realize the risks involved. My initial experiences were good including this one but I’m realizing that it has its limitations, especially for international backers. There are certain projects or perks that are difficult to back and when you get many additional rewards it’s annoying when the goods are divided into multiple shipments. As I mentioned before I liked this packaging a lot because it is the right size to fit everything in it.
It’s a great start! The story is a much-needed tale that needs to be told in today’s climate. The art looks good so on that from you won’t be disappointed and the packaging is beautiful. The crowdfunding campaign for “Bonds Vol.1: The Drive” is closed and so far, I haven’t seen it being sold anywhere. Maybe the digital version of Vol.1 will be on the Blood Bonds Books online store?
It may not be long before it is available on the campaign of the second book of the saga “Bonds Vol.2: The Cursed Child”. At least I hope that will be the case for those that are just recently discovering Bonds Vol.1. Fingers crossed.
Up next my eyes will be on “The LUCENT: Waking Dream”
Previous articles from the series:
- EYES ON SHADOWBINDERS VOLUME 1 AND VOLUME 2
- EYES ON DRAGON RAGE: A CRADLE OF EMBERS ISSUE #1
- EYES ON THROUGH THE WOODS COLLECTED EDITION