By Brandy Dykhuizen. Hop in a giant snail taxi with Boone Dias and Glum and travel across Agartha, the capital city of the magical land called Ether. Fantastical markets, quirky characters and strange beasts line the path between the Ether’s entrance and Lighthouse, a capital building of sorts that houses the soul of the city. What’s down there? Well, everything.
Boone, a dimension-hopping scientist looking for answers, is chaperoned by Glum, a no-nonsense but generally friendly primate who’s here to keep Boone’s wanderings (and arrogance) in check. Glum is tasked with strong-arming Boone into using his scientific prowess to help the mayor of Agartha solve a murder mystery. You see, as mystical, all-knowing and far-reaching as Ether’s residents are, they exist purely in a dimension of magic. Science can be a bit of a blind spot for them.
Kindt creates a dimensional interloper quite used to existing between two worlds. In the strange land of Ether, he’s revered for his outsider’s perspective and the new angle he brings to solving problems and perceiving order. Back home on Earth, Boone seems to have fallen on harder times, a once-famous scientist who has been reduced to stealing loaves of bread and scruffily catching 40 winks in abandoned doorways. Is it pure scientific curiosity that keeps bringing him back to Ether, or is it his ego, reveling in the moments in which he’s once again held in high esteem?
While Kindt portrays the duality of Boone seamlessly, Rubin echos the smooth transitions in his artwork, illustrating how the combined chaos within a city can come together as one coherent organism. He takes us from bustling marketplaces to a goofy, outlandish cab ride to a daunting Art Deco library, filling the pages with a handful of styles that flawlessly fit together. This is a team with whom it’s worth taking an inter-dimensional journey, for plot and picture are both fantastic down to every delightful detail. Whether you favor the scientific or you have a taste for the magical, Ether is worth your while.
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Matt Kindt.
Art and Lettering by David Rubin.
8 out of 10