Niobe Series

Niobe and Dura #1

Following the Niobe series has been a challenge. The reading order on the website is a bit of a mess and it's hard to know what's new, plus Jones habitually releases flashbacks. So it's a little easy to jump into the story, it's hard to know where exactly it is going. Stranger comics didn't publish much during the pandemic but the company continued with StrangerCon and other events, so I knew the line wasn't dead. Haven't heard anything about the cartoon on HBO but with restructuring there I'm giving up on it. However, today's comic came my day due to their Free Comic Day promotion.

We return to the world of Asunda by looking at Niobe and Dura #1. Here, Niobe's village is attacked and she is pursued by a hostile named Vastar, an agent of the Untamed. Vastar knows Niobe's father and wants to take her back to him as part of the end-of-the-world threat but Dura, one of the creators of Asunda, comes to the rescue.

The art remains a good selling point of this series. While it's not super glossy or detailed, it retains a solid polish and refinement you typically see in the series. The paneling works with the story really well, and the character art remains top-tier. Fans of the previous issues will be pleased with this one.  

The storyline for this one is not too complicated but I suggest reading Essessa and Morka Moa first to get the background of this story. Though in future issues, he might cover more background of Asunda and Niobe's origin. I just hope it doesn't clash.

You can find Niobe & Dura #1 for free at The Stranger Comics.

Tales of Asunda #1 by Stranger Comics

It's been a minute since the last Niobe series I covered. One of the problems with the series is it mainly comes out on Kickstarters and the writer's on the convention circuit, etc & so forth. Fortunately, I found a series that I hadn't read before. I thought I already had the bulk of the Asunda universe that when I saw this, I went digging through 3 hard drives and still couldn't find it. Bruh...

Anyway, you can't go wrong with a Niobe comic. Stunning visuals, deep lines, deeply drawn lines, the weight of lore, and of course the glowing sword. First Kill mostly focuses on Niobe as a teenager, traveling with the Stranger to get to the safe place before Niobe She is Life. Along the way, Niobe and the Stranger encounter a dangerous demon called Uusuju, which forces Niobe to take her first kill. We also get to the main plot of the story, where we find Niobe standing before a group of soldiers to be executed for attacking her and her people on the orders of the Untamed. Niobe offers the soldiers a better choice. Will they take it or is there false pride more important?

The art remains top-notch. The way Niobe is drawn, the framing, and the coloring give her both a menacing aura yet a lovely focus. Dunno whether the artist took inspiration from modern Wonder Woman comics, but I get a certain artistic vibe from it in this one. Because it's lore-heavy, this is not such a standalone comic as it appears to be, so I don't recommend it for new readers. 

As always, you can find it at

Tales of Asunda #2 by Stranger Comics

Two brothers, 1 flower. Only 1 can win such love. I also know you cannot make someone love you. But you can make them hate. I love this line from Dura in the comic. It oozes layers and depth.

Waso the elf-man, and Dusu the man-man are living together in the village of elf people (I think) and Waso's still upset over humans kidnapping his mother and the tribe adopting Dusu. Waso is a prince who dreams of a strange woman who resembles her mother. So, they've got beef. Compounding their beef is their shared affection for Uun-Sil. To win the heart of Uun-Sil, she gives them a 'mission impossible'- find this legendary flower and give it to her. Dura reminds the boys that while they can get the flower, it might not win her heart. But will they listen? 

The art wasn't especially remarkable or out-of-this-world, but it wasn't bland either. The whole comic had an earthy-brown tone to it, which made more in-keeping with the theme, but didn't produce as many striking visuals. The striking visuals that were there were also a bit muted as a result. Artistically, not one of their best works. But in the end, this is a story-driven comic, not an artistic comic. 

At the end there's a soliloquy on trauma and healing, but it doesn't quite apply here because Waso is getting hints that his mother's still alive. Therefore, I'd skip that part of the end text. 4.5 out of 5.

As always, you can find it at

Tales of Asunda #3 by Stranger Comics

I like this series, can you tell? It's consistent, follows a set theme, and the characters drop bars.'s issue. 

This story doesn't really feature Niobe until the mid-issue break. It has more to do with unrequited love, but it doesn't start that way. A diverse group of adventures takes on the assignment of destroying a monster hiding in a cave complex, you know, your typical D&D setup. However, these adventurers are not as serious and spent a bit of time snarking at each other. Perhaps this is a Darkest Dungeon playthrough? And like the game, the adventurers get picked off by the monster. However, the monster has a sad, romantic reason for staying there. The monster used to be a princess, who was married off to another prince, and she swore to wait for him to reincarnate. It's a charming story in some ways, and stereotypical in others.

The artwork doesn't disappoint, and the framing remains top-notch. You get a feel of menace in some scenes and the first ending will certainly chill your bones. The second ending doesn't carry the same emotional weight as the first but it gives a big hint and that's subtle enough.

As always, you can find it at

Tales of Asunda #4 by Stranger Comics

We wrap up our journey into the Tales of Asunda with #4 Mother's Hands. This one has a greater tie-in with the events of previous issues and the main plot as a whole. Niobe wishes to break into hell to liberate her lost love, but Dura needs to talk her out of it. To do so, she takes Niobe to meet her mother. But as readers know, her mother died long ago and Niobe is an orphan. Dura had something else in mind.

The artwork was once again, above-average in quality. It's not glossy or shiny like an Invincible comic, but it's got the good details where it counts. This is more of a romantic tale than an intergalactic slugfest so don't expect well-detailed art. Instead, think of the art as a function of getting the reader to feel the emotions of the characters. Don't expect dreamy backgrounds; expect a feeeling of love.

I think this was the author's intent to tell the story in this way, to let go of lost loves and family. Recently his mother died and I think in some ways this story lets us think of people we lost and the we had for them when they were alive. I also felt the planting of the flower made for a great metaphor, and maybe, a great romantic gesture. 5 out of 5 stars. 

As always, you can find it at