Review: La Isabela (Jakob Kayne #1) by Sylvain Runberg, Mateo Guerrero (Illustrator).

Rating: 8/10


Jakob Kayne and his brother Samuel are the last of the Hippocrats. Sworn to treat those in need (and those who are deemed worthy), the two Healer-Alchemists have been tracked across the Archipelagos by manifold enemies, including the Inquisition. On his latest mission, Jakob, a formidable Memory-Eater whose face none can recall, is confronted by an obstacle as unexpected as it is persistent: feelings for his latest patient, Victoria Marcheda, amid the fiery destruction of the city of La Isabela.


I recieved an arc via Netgalley. Please note that this is a English translation of a French historical comic, and that Europe Comics have really outdone themselves here. Fantastic work. Jakob Kayne is why we need more historical comics. I was impressed, by the sheer visual scale of the artwork that this comic has taken. I love the alternate take of this fantasy Europe and a fantasy resurgent Ottoman Empire. The artwork is fantastic, especially with the depiction of the Ottoman troops, their army, and their navy. It also brings you the horrors of war as well. And I was surprised to see that Jakob was seen as an spy for the Omeykhims.

Torquemada’s character needed a bit more development, for example I wished to see his resolve fighting the Omeykhims. I do understand that as Cardinal of the city he is protecting, he can’t do much. He’s not a solider. But this is exactly the sort of world that Assassin Creed would be in. I don’t know why but it does. Jakob’s character is well rounded, well written, and you are never left feeling inadequate about his past or his background. I didn’t want Isabella’s father and son to pass away when they are that close to the Omeykhim flagship. La Isabella is a beautiful city.

I loved the scenes of parkour, and the fact the soliders of the city weren’t foolish everytime Jakob entered the city. They were smart enough to figure this out. However whenever Jakob adopted a new disguise, I would have preferred him to put in a fake beard etc. There is also a big power struggle going on. The Sultan wants the city to get the treasures of the inqusition, which Torquemada, being the terrible master of the Inqusition will not allow. And Jakob is a healer, and whenever he is called to heal people, it’s a sort of duty for him. Although I was a little hesistant to see Victoria suddenly developing emotions too quick for Jakob, I do feel there should have been more of a distance. But it’s a comic and stories are fantasy in some sense.

That is also not forgetting the fact that Jakob and his brother are Hippocrats and the last of them. I wonder if the Omeykhims, the Inqusition, and other interested powers are also interested in them. I can’t wait to read and this left me wanting more!

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