Esme + Eldar is set in a world of magic and wonder, in a sort of alternative early Victorian England, in an odd little town called Ceran. Esme, a quick-witted girl who wants to be a detective, and Eldar her faithful, sarcastic, magical little friend. They're about to leave the relative safety of their hometown and discover a world that will change them forever.
Issue One is all about setting up the adventure to come, and it succeeds in doing that as you want to keep reading when you're finished. The art is all pencil, with no colour. Whilst some colour would have been nice, it's not really needed with the look that the illustrator, Tom McCarthaigh, has gone for. Every stone on the roads look different, in shape and texture. Houses aren't straight. Eyes are bigger. It's a style that fits perfectly with a fantasy story like this, and some of the detail is outstanding.
The relationship between the two main characters is what will make the story a good one, as they bounce of each other. One part produced a genuine laugh out loud moment whilst reading in silence, and it was great for building up who they are. They don't need to be funny all the time, and they aren't, which makes these kinds of moments memorable.
The only thing holding the comic back from going to the next level, is the text boxes/bubbles. They seem all over the place, oddly shaped and don't always fit the text, as they bend and twist around characters. The first few pages are fine, with standard text bubbles that cut off a bit of hair or a part of a hand, like you'd expect to see. Then it changes and it's really noticeable because it doesn't look right. Some instances are done well though and merge into the panel seamlessly.
Overall, it's a good first issue. With a bit of tweaking on how the text is displayed, it would be even better. Don't let the complaints about that distract you from the actual story though, as it's well told and has a solid build for the start of their adventure, and you can tell that some real thought and effort has gone into the art to give it a unique look.
If you want to give the book a read, you can buy it for £5 at CrownRoot Publications.