Randomveus Volume 1 Review

From talented Aussie artist Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz, comes this wild and whacky OGN, the first from publisher Udon Studios. Udon are mainly known for their many Street Fighter comics, of which Cruz is a regular artist. Here he works his mad visual skills and co-writes with Leonard Bermingham.

Firstly, this is a beautifully presented book, and I don’t just mean Cruz’s art. Under the Hard Cover, with a glossy picture of the 3 protagonists are 144 pages of drool worthy visual variety, including some tasty extras. The first one of which is a character gallery, showcasing Cruz’s designs for 29 different inhabitants of Randomveus, ranging from Brownz (a dollop of faecal matter with a smiling face) to The Loop (a large chocolate doughnut) to Deepfreeze (a heroic fridge). The fact that the majority of these characters don’t appear within this tale means that the Volume 1 on the cover indicates Cruz has more stories to tell. Following that one page gallery is an 18 page black and white story centred on Henshin Hero, a fictional hero within Randomveus. There are also chapter breaks and pin-ups by other artists.

The main tale is free flowing, kinetic and madcap. It’s like the best parts of a Saturday morning cartoon of the ’80s, combined with anime and a healthy dose of non-stop, sugar induced shenanigans. The main character is Raimundo. After a hectic delivery to a customer inside a giant Footsnake (what it sounds like), we learn that Raimundo had a bunch of part-time jobs on Earth before getting sucked into a portaloo on a film set and landing in Randomveus. He also landed on a poor creature, which meant he had to take his job. That’s how he came to work for the One Dimensional Couriers and ended up working with Bloob, a blob who holds all manner of things inside his gelatinous body from anvils to packages, and Melody.  The rest of the story makes about as much sense as any Monty Python episode, with a bounty of Raimundo’s head, an escape from pirates who “can’t turn left,” and a sax playing crime boss. Really, this is a book that embraces nonsense and adventure with gusto. It’s not a hilarious book, but the turns it takes are unpredictable. It’s easy to follow, although future volumes may explain more of the “rules” of this universe Cruz has created, though the creators seem intent on not allowing logic to get in the way of a fun story.

It’s also a book that needs to be looked at more than once and it’s great to see Cruz unleashed with such spectacular results. The few random preview pages below don’t do it justice. Randomveus is populated with characters ranging from the cute to the bizarre and the multitude of characters that show up is impressive. It’s certainly a busy and action driven book, but is never distracting. The colour palette is extensive, and the page layouts are diverse.

Randomveus is an entertaining, carefree OGN that wholeheartedly embraces the storytelling and artistic possibilities of the comics medium, kind of like Scott Pilgrim and much like that series, is also newbie friendly.

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