Four Eyes, Volume 1: Forged in Flames by Joe Kelly is one of those rare, original tales that must be read and heard. Don’t let that it is told in a graphic novel format dissuade you. This is high drama and high fantasy. A tale of survival and redemption. With some of the best comic artwork around.
In an alternate Universe, it is New York of the 1930s, after the crash and work is hard to come by. But on this day young Enrico and his family are taking a day at the beach. Families in this New York don’t do this, doing this means going a day without work. But Enrico’s father has found a new job and the money is coming in, steady. Enrico’s father steals Dragons eggs and on this fateful day, Enrico’s life changes forever. He becomes the man of the house. Now he must provide for the home and the easiest and most dangerous way for a young boy to make money is to find and hunt for Dragon’s eggs. For in 1930s New York, the most brutal and the most profitable game in town is in underground Dragon fighting. But there is one rule to hunting Dragon’s eggs, you must never touch a baby dragon or else they will bond with you and on this day, deep in the caverns covered with soot and eaten bodies, Enrico will hold the runt of the litter in his arms. He will bond with the Dragon Four Eyes.
Original and inventive, Kelly has forged a story here that is fantasy and drama. In Enrico he has created a young boy who idolizes his father and cannot shake the guilt of his death. A boy who would kill to protect his mother and feels the poverty and the danger of the slum around them. Enrico who hates the Dragons who took his father from him, must now find salvation in one.
Kelly has written a masterful tale and with this first volume has laid the groundwork for an epic to come. Very distinctive and clever artwork compliments this story. A terrific read!