A lone wolf carrying the burden of the moon brings chaos to the south border in Bonds Vol.2: THE CURSED CHILD.
The Southern Border Pack becomes home to a wolf who can either bring it to the peak of prosperity or on the verge of destruction. Who is this mysterious wolf and will he have any impact on Leena’s goal of becoming the future Alpha?
THE CREATIVE TEAM
The Bonds series is written, illustrated, inked and lettered by NyRiam Nowa (Bonds Vol.1). The Exiled origin story is written by Steve Lee (Sunsworn) with illustrations by Nyriam. Steve Lee is also the editor and the crowdfunding campaign manager.
Bonds Vol.2: THE CURSED CHILD is a 77-page teen/young adult supernatural graphic novel with elements of action and drama. The book has a glossy soft cover of good quality, a printed spine, and good binding. The art is presented in black and white.
The first page has an art piece by Vinnie Tartamella (Through the Woods, Shadow of the Kraken). The book contains chapter dividers and consists of the main story, a “Thank You” page, the short story of MudMan 2: The Legend Continues, a credit page, and a Bonds art page. The main story is told in 4 chapters: Chapter 1- A New Day Has Come, Chapter 2- Shaping Up, Chapter 3- Encounter, and Chapter 4- Friends and Foes.
EXILED is a 22-page origin story with cover art by Nyriam. The story is told in text format with a few art illustrations. The book is printed on high-quality paper, numbered, and stapled. The books were published in 2023 by NyRiam and BloodBond Books.
This time we have 3 stories to enjoy. The main story “The Cursed Child“, the short story MudMan 2: The Legend Continues and the origin story Exiled.
BONDS VOL.2: THE CURSED CHILD
Leena’s pleas have been heard. Along with her younger brother Jessie, she begins training. Leena is determined to gain the title of the future Alpha of the pack to protect her loved ones. Jessie is a carefree and a bit clueless 10-year-old who is the official future Alpha of the pack.
But the siblings aren’t the only werewolves on the training ground. They are being trained by Rick, the trainer of the pack who is kind by advice and word and strict at his job. Rick has been training Liam Wilson and Dell Lucas. Liam Wilson lives with his mother. His father died during the Great Wolf War. Rick became his mentor at a young age, quickly noticing the gift in the boy, now training him as his successor, a Zeta. Liam is always cheerful and never declines a good sparing match with his rival Dell.
Dell is the most hard-working member of the trainee group. Mysterious to many but to a few, who know him, he’s a tough nut full of personality ready to get cracked open. Cautious and not very trusting. Then again after going through so much, one couldn’t even question why. After all, he is the cursed child.
THE MUDMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
The MudMan is a character from a comic book that Leena and Jessie like to read. He first appeared in Mudman: The Birth of a Legend. The evil doctor Kochbyrne’s scheme to create an army of Mud people was thwarted by Indigenous Jones and Gretchen The Wolf, but not before a single Mudman was born.
As a sign of fresh friendship, MudMan was gifted a talisman used to summon his spirit, his heart. In Vol.2 MudMan is set free but before he could leave the evil doctor’s liar a teleportation bomb explodes sending the MudMan to an unknown location where he meets new creatures. What will happen next for the MudMan, Indigenous Jones and Gretchen The Wolf?
The story of Dell is told in Exiled and it explains how he ended up at the Southern Border and why he works so hard to be accepted as he was born with a mark that sets him apart from other wolfs. His life so far has been difficult because of this. His inner wolf pushes him to become a rogue while is human side still seeks that sense of belonging.
Bonds Vol.2: THE CURSED CHILD focuses on Leena’s and Jessie’s training, their interaction with the other trainees, and the strange wolf’s presence in the forest. Nothing serious happens other than the fight with a rouge wolf and a violent encounter with one of Dell’s acquaintances from his past.
By the end of the main story, you will have many questions about Dell which are mostly addressed in “Exiled” which is an engaging interesting story full of mystery and deceit. The origin story is short and concise and is a great format to tell the stories of the pack members that are not directly part of the main storyline. For example, I would be interested to know more about Rick’s backstory.
Reading THE CURSED CHILD and EXILED made me reflect on Friendship, Hope, Discrimination, and Acceptance.
Leena and Dell did not like each other during most of the story. Dell had his attitude and Leena was making her own assumption based on his behavior. Dell is the complete opposite of Liam who is Mr. Friendly but something happens that breaks the wall Dell was trying to put between him and Leena.
Dell’s life has not been easy. While running away into the Southern Border he strikes upon Rick, who could have easily killed him. Instead, Rick made a connection with his wolf learned the truth, and decided to take Dell to his Alpha to see if he could join his pack. Even though the possibilities were slim that he would be accepted, Dell still had a little hope which is why he put in the work.
Dell was born with a rare condition that sets him apart from other wolfs. Instead of raising him up to be a productive member of the pack most had a strong believe in the myths and chose to see him as the “other”.
Based on this “belief” Dell was always discriminated against and set apart. Even though he went through all of that at a young age, he still maintained his composure. Anyone else would have gone mad with reason. Dell has a strong level-headed mind and I believe it will help him get through the new challenges ahead.
The story reflects how easily people “other” each other because of beliefs and culture. Rather than be accepting and take the positive we choose to take the negative, ridicule, and not accept what’s different.
The diversity of today is not about accepting and respecting our differences. It’s diversity in appearance. Diversity is based only on skin color. There is no diversity in beliefs, culture, and norms. Everyone has to follow the same rules and think the same way. Anyone who thinks differently is ousted. How inclusive is that?
Someone like Dell could grow up to be the biggest protector or the most destructive being and the reason will be his environment and how he grows up.
The biggest villains are often fed hate by the society driven and manipulated by power-driven entities who don’t really care about anything other than obtaining more power. It’s up to us, the citizens, and members of society, to break off the manipulation and pay attention to our family, our friends, our community, and our country.
It will make a difference to grow up in a healthy environment with good norms and values, pay attention to our friends in need, look out for our community to be a safe place to live in, and pay more attention to what the government is doing to our country and to us with the reminder that they should work for the people, not for corporations and international organizations.
What happened to Dell was a blessing in disguise as he now found a better environment to grow up in and most importantly a good mentor that will guide him through hard times.
Dell knows that he needs to earn the acceptance of the pack and works hard for it. Because he is different, he has gone through a lot of rejection but even though it was difficult it did not influence his good nature. He could have chosen to go rouge but I believe his human side wanted to belong and this was greater than his desire to be alone.
Everyone wants to be accepted as part of something bigger. Sometimes people go to the extremes to be accepted but is it worth it? It’s different for everyone. Sometimes it’s’ worth it. Other times the negative consequences outweigh the positive of belonging to a certain group.
Dell never changed who he is, Rick knew his story and accepted him. I don’t believe I need to change who I am in order to belong somewhere. If doing something against your norms and values is demanded in order to be accepted then that kind of acceptance is not worth it. Always choose to go where you can be yourself. Not an overhyped or caricature version of you. Just You.
THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
After the experience with Bonds Vol.1: The Drive it was very easy to make the decision to back Bonds Vol.2: The Cursed Child. At the beginning of the campaign, the willingness was there but just having the financial means to make it happen has become a little bit difficult.
Nonetheless I chose the Zeta General tier which included the physical copy of Bonds Vol.2: THE CURSED CHILD, Printed black and white origin storybook EXILED, a 6×9 inch color-mini print THE MOON GODDESS, a 6×9 inch color-mini print BY THE FULL MOON, 2.5×3.5 inch “sepia paper” traditional sketch card plus the achieved stretch goal, and glossy collectible trading card. All expected goodies were received plus a small Blood Bonds Books sticker. The main book and the origin storybook were signed.
The updates on the campaign were provided timely and the tracking number was provided as well. Unlike with Bonds Vol.1 this time, the beautifully printed packaging arrived damaged (by customs) however everything inside, which was carefully packaged in bubble wrap, was left pristine.
In the end, the Cursed Child has the potential to be one of the pack’s most powerful protectors. Eventually, he would have to face his past and hopefully get justice. How will he impact Leena’s journey of becoming Alpha?
The main story will continue in Bonds Vol.3: THE HIGHEST PRICE. Hope fully we will get more origin stories and more MudMan comics. In the meantime, the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo is as of date still in demand so you can check it out. It includes a tier with Vol.1 for those that are new to the project.
Interested in more titles? Check more COMIC BOOKS and GRAPHIC NOVELS under the “EYES ON” series wherein I documented my experience with crowdfunding entertainment and shared my notes on the products I received.
My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.
See you on the next page!