‘The Snake and the Lotus’ review: Darker and more inviting

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With the latest in the Halahala series of graphic novels, Appupen has arrived as an illustrator

Visual artist and comics creator Appupen has been building up the mythical world of Halahala in a series of graphic novels that started with Moonward in 2009. Halahala is a far-off planet in the distant future which resembles earth in the many struggles that are its lot.

It can be viewed as a mirror world that allows Appupen to explore earthbound environmental issues: at the same time, it can be seen as a mechanised, dystopic space. Halahala is a surreal setting that lets Appupen give his imagination a free rein. In the latest in the Halahala series, The Snake and the Lotus, Appupen continues to play with the superhero genre, while steadily embellishing the landscape of Halahala.

Layers of shadow

There is much that is new in this edition of the Halahala stories. The old Halahala as the readers knew it is coming to an end and a new age is dawning. Human excesses have led to an over-dependence on machines and while the said humans cannot figure it out as yet, their very existence is under threat.

One of the ‘good’ characters, The Silent Green, sends out a call for allies who can save Halahala from ruin. Among the proposed helpers is a girl who is chosen for her connectedness with the old ways. Is she the chosen one? Can she restore the balance?

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