Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Title:     Mikey Recio & The Secret of The Demon Dungeon [The Secret Colony, book 1]
Author:   Budjette Tan, Bow Guerrero, J.B. Tapia
Rating:   ★★★

Budjette strikes again, although this time he teams up with Bow Guerrero and J.B. Tapia. The one-decade work in progress resulted in a fantastic, page-turner that can make you forget the things you have to do as you sink into its pages and the jarring introduction of Mikey Recio into the dark reality and his family's legacy. Amazing stuff.

Mikey had other plans on his Holy Week holiday. Driving for his grandfather was not part of it. Nor did it involve running into a very unholy secret.

Mikey Recio & The Secret of The Demon Dungeon takes a different view of the colonization of the Spaniards over the Philippines, which mixes with our current folklore, like the tiyanak. I'm not sure if there will be other 'monsters' in the next book, but the tiyanak is the one at focus in the first volume. The Catholic traditions of the Filipinos is also highlighted. Who here has experienced praying the rosary during road trips? I certainly did, and up to now, that's still a family practice. I was able to relate to Mikey's irritation and boredom with said practice, as well as his inclination to simply listen to music instead of praying (hehe).

At first, the introduction was not as exciting as I hoped it would be, but it was an excellent way to set the characterization of Mikey Recio and set the tone for his transition in the next half of the volume, and perhaps for the rest of the storyline as well. And anyway, after about five pages, I was suddenly absorbed into the comic book, and I sat stock still on my bed after ten minutes, just reading, until I saw that my sister was about to leave without me.

I do consider this as a sort of Catholic fiction, and although that is not my cup of tea, the integration of Filipino practices and religious beliefs with the folklore monsters has definitely captured my interest. I think it's an interesting take on our culture, and, well, a more kick-ass, tangible reason for praying the Hail Mary.

The first story is short, almost like a character backgrounder for the whole story (which will hopefully span across 20...50 volumes?). The second half of the book is like the history of the start of the Order of St Michael in the Philippines, and some of the earliest (fictional...I hope) recording of the first person to survive an encounter with the Fallen Ones.

I also laud the art and differentiation of the characters in the first volume. I'm not much of a graphic novel art aficionado, but as a simple reader, for me the visuals were fantastic and definitely brought the characters and settings to life. The team-up by these three creative guys is a good one!

If you're looking for your Filipino choice reading material for this month, or whenever, I do recommend giving Mikey Recio & The Secret of The Demon Dungeon a good chance.

**Quickstop Tuesdays is a feature in My Book Musings where I review books/comic books/graphic novels that have less than 200 pages, on Tuesdays.