The unnerving and multi-armed monster of organized crime may have met its match in Campisi. In this new series from AfterShock Comics the mafia doesn’t have to worry about rival families, but gigantic, angry, vengeful dragons.
Campisi introduces a world where mythological creatures like dragons and krakens still exist, rare though they may be. It’s a world where, readers are shown, a group of knights broke an agreement with a peaceful community of dragons—the Clan of the West—in an effort to slaughter them all. The attempted genocide doesn’t quite stick, however, leading to a simmering resentment and the lingering threat of violence from both the humans and the dragons.
Family and violence is what colors most of Campisi #1’s pages. Written by James Patrick with art by Marco Locati, the world of organized crime is narrated in the almost-laconic voice of a young mafia fixer called Sonny. It is sketched into existence in a sharp, angular world that is both warm and threatening at once. The community—all of whom are paying the local mob for protection—is painted as small and tight-knit, and held in deep fondness by Sonny. The simultaneously grimy yet sunny world of Sonny’s Sopranos-esque existence is disrupted, however, when a dragon flies over the city.
Unlike in fantasy media like Game of Thrones, where there is some magical, special individual controlling the dragons, the dragon here is free to roam, speaking and thinking for itself, and this dragon is itching for a chance at revenge. Curling up in a half-constructed building, it waits for the perfect opportunity—which turns out to be a mob hit on a local businessman who hasn’t paid his dues to the crime family. The violent, graphic murder is the spark that sets the battle for a city—a battle between mafia and magical creatures spiraling into motion.
Crime worlds like those depicted in The Sopranos and The Godfather are often filled with allegiances and revenge—petty fights for power between men. The choice to have those petty fights disrupted by a magical threat that would probably have Daenerys Targaryen shaking in her boots is a unique choice that definitely pushes the storytelling to a new, and wildly different level. And a fight for a city between the mob and dragons is certainly a story worth returning to, especially when our knight in shining armor is a fixer like Sonny.
AfterShock Comics has built a solid library of quirky and bizarre comics over the years, and Campisi shares the same traits as its predecessors. Unorthodox, a smidge edgy, and plenty of fun, Campisi’s mixing of familiar urban settings with fantasy creatures offers a modern twist on the old dragon-fighting stories.