Thank you, Top Shelf Productions, for sending a copy of Ashes for an honest review.

They say that a good way to soothe the soul is by getting into the car and driving. So, it’s only natural that when you want to take some time away and reconnect with friends, a road trip is one of the best ideas. And in renowned Spanish cartoonist Álvaro Ortiz’s English-debut Ashes, we explore just that.

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The graphic novel follows Polly, Moho and Pitter, three friends who haven’t seen each other in years. They decide that their best course of action to fix this is to pile into a car and set off on a long journey. Their destination? A mysterious cross marked on a map. The adventure is full of car chases, alcohol, roadside motels, banjo-playing thugs, violence and, of course, a monkey.

Ashes is one of those stories that either gets you or doesn’t. And in our case, it got us. The story can be a bit disjointed at times, but the overall story ties together nicely. There were times we laughed, cried and even times we found ourselves doing both. Ortiz walks a fine line between giving us an epic adventure while also reminding us how to let go and just laugh a little.

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What really stuck out to us in Ashes is how well this works as an introduction to graphic novels for many readers. The art style is simplistic and still a bit more on the traditional cartoon style. So anyone who finds enjoyment out of Sunday comics or the random cartoon strip won’t feel overwhelmed diving in. It also isn’t too simplistic that those who already love graphic novels will find it lacking.

Ortiz’s Ashes is a story we recommend to dive into even if you are on the fence. It’s one of those stories that you can find something within to enjoy.

Ashes releases February 7, 2023. You can find preorder information here.

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