Rhen is a young mage who wants to help his adoptive parents pay a debt they have because of his mischief but they don’t have much time to pay it back. He embarks on an adventure looking for a treasure that will get him the money to help his parents. During his journey he will earn the name, Captain Crimson Rhen.
Thaddeus Windell’s greatest treasure is out there, and it’s up to young mage Rhen to find it in order to pay his parent’s debt. He will take his inherited airship called The True North to find it. But he won’t be alone, his adoptive brother and sister, a longtime friend and a new acquaintance will become his crew on this exciting journey. But will they find the treasure in time? Crimson Rhen of the True North is a race against the clock filled with fantasy, action, adventure, and comedy.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Crimson Rhen of the True North Vol.1 is written by Kambrea Pratt (aka Geeky Sparkles) and Thom Pratt (aka Kneon). Both previously worked on Disney comics for Gemstone Publishing. They have their own businesses, including YouTube channels, websites, and an online store, under their brands Clownfish TV, Clownfish Comics, Clownfish Studios, and Pirates and Princessses.net.
The story was illustrated by José Garcia who worked on animation at DreamWorks TV, Netflix, Nick, and Cartoon Network. The book was lettered by Matt Moylan.
Crimson Rhen of the True North Vol.1 is the prequel to the Shadowbinders Vol.1 and Vol.2 and is part one of a two-part story. It is a young adult 130+ page fantasy action-adventure comedy graphic novel printed in full color with a “6 x 9” hardcover.
In addition to the main story, the book has an art page at the beginning and at the end, a credits page and a thank you page. The book was published in 2023 by Clownfish Studios.
The story starts at the coastal side of a beautiful town full of airships. Something is happening. We see 2 boys running down the hill, Tristan Allen Barret and Rhenford “Rhen” Aloysius Tizzle, and we also see a strange-looking creature we recognize from Shadowbinders as Winston, the Feeb.
They are being pursued by a group of boys led by Caleb. It appears that Rhen used magic to turn Caleb’s hair green. The pursuit caused havoc on the market side leaving one window of a store broken. The boys managed to escape but the owner already recognized them and will be informing their parents.
It appears that Caleb’s family is wealthy and his father pays a visit and demands Rhen’s parents pay for the costs that he will incur trying to find a mage to reverse the damage. This comes in addition to what they have to pay for the broken store window. At the moment, they simply don’t have the money to pay back.
Rhen goes to Alex, a girl both brothers appear to have a crush on, trying to find a solution to help his parents. Alex told him about some new men in town who were talking about the Traverse at the tavern where her mom works.
The Traverse seems to be a mansion that was built by Thaddeus Windell who invented the modern airship but disappeared without a trace. It has been rumored that inside the Traverse lies Windell’s greatest treasure. The thing is no one knows where it is or even if it exists at all.
Rhen goes with Alex to the tavern in disguise to find out more from the men about the Traverse which leads him to a treasure map which was then stolen by Winston. Determined to get the treasure in order to help his parents he embarks on an existing journey to find the treasure.
But he won’t be alone. His brother Trever, little sister Angel, Alex, and a new acquaintance will embark on his inherited airship “True North” in search of the Treasure of Thaddeus Windell. Will they find the treasure in time?
I enjoyed Shadowbinders and wanted to have the same satisfactory feeling after reading Crimson Rhen. I didn’t. The art looks too perfect at times yet it can be imperfect at other times. It’s hard to explain. The digital art is very detailed at times and it looks very nice but at other times it looks just strange. For example, the way Rhen cries. His tears look very weird.
In the beginning, I wanted to care for Rhen and his family but the story is going so fast that I fail to understand the bond Rhen has with his adoptive parents. I also missed his bond with his brother and his younger sister. The story gets interesting when he’s deliberately looking for trouble and steals a treasure map.
At times there are panels that repeat showing the same angle but illustrating a few things happening. It’s like a breakdown of film scenes or cartoon scenes on paper. It gets boring at times. Maybe it’s a new style? I don’t get it. It’s just weird and gives the impression that they were used as fillers. They could have used other angles or made those shorter and expanded a little more on the story of how Rhen came into the family and how was their life living together until now.
And I would also have liked to know more about the new acquaintance that gets to travel with them. Maybe some flashbacks corroborating his story or letting him help them in some way that corroborates his good intentions. It’s just weird to look at an unrelated adult traveling with teens. I understand the reasoning in the story but to me, it’s still weird.
By the time I decided to back the IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign for Crimson Rhen of the True North Vol.1, I just got the simplest tier which contained just the book. The campaign had no stretch goals, so the expected delivery was just the book.
The whole process of receiving the book went well. I also received a Thank You card with the book, which is very much appreciated. The book was delivered in protective packaging.
Clownfish Studios was very organized and provided tracking numbers and email notifications which made it very easy for me to track the package. They were also honest with the process which had a few hiccups with the printing that caused the delay in delivering the book.
Crimson Rhen of the True North Vol.1 is the first part of the two-part background story of the Casanova Rhen from Shadowbinders. The quality of the printed book is almost similar to the quality of the Shadowbinders books but it misses the attention to details like stating the name of the place at the beginning of the story.
The art is very different this time and despite the few issues I had with the story it was still an interesting read and the ending makes me look forward to Vol.2. The book can be a good gift for kids (+10 y/o) and teens who like fantasy adventures. As of today, Chrismon Rhen Vol.1 and the Shadowbinders books are available to purchase at Clownfish Store.
Shadowbinders was the first crowdfunded project I backed and it also started my crowdfunding adventure looking for alternative entertainment. Interested in more? Check out the 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.
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