Review – Canto #1 (IDW Publishing)

Canto #1
  • Writing - 8.5/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
User Review
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Writer: David M. Booher
Artist: Drew Zucker
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Maturity Rating: All Ages
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: June 26, 2019

Canto brings us to a strange land where tin people are enslaved. No hearts, no love, no names just work. One is given a name by love: Canto, and he will start a change.


“All Heart” Canto #1

In Canto #1 we arrive in a strange land where tin people are enslaved and life is bleak. They are not allowed names and not allowed to love. Their giant, beastly slave masters work them all day. Worse, the people used to have hearts, now replaced by clocks. Slowly, the clocks click life away. But two of the people rebelled, finding love. The girl gave the boy a name: Canto, but she suffers the consequences. Her clock is damaged beyond repair. Canto must escape and brave the terrifying land to find a way to save her. An all-ages tale of wonder and adventure begins in Canto #1.


Canto#1 (IDW Publishing) cover art by Drew Zucker
Canto#1 (IDW Publishing) cover art by Drew Zucker

I really didn’t know what I was getting into with Canto #1. The cover with the small character in what looks like a knight’s armor just seemed intriguing. I was delightfully surprised by a wonderful start to an all-ages story inspired by The Wizard of Oz and Dante’s Inferno, no less! David M. Booher does a fantastic job with this first issue. From the first page, he sets the tone perfectly, introducing us to this bleak world. It has just the right amount of detail and vagueness to get the point across. We get just enough information to get a foothold on this world and its inhabitants. But not too much to bog down with endless details or to take away from the character’s story.

I liked the overall theme and feel of this first issue. It is obviously dark and bleak, but it also has a great sense of wonder, adventure, and hopefulness to it as well. With the character of Canto, he is well-written; Booher gets across that this is a character that wants to be brave, and at times he is, but there is also a fearfulness to him as well. At times he might portray something that he is not. Booher does a great job of getting the story going and to the point. He doesn’t have any filler; he gets the story where it needs to be.


Canto #1 has some fantastic art by Drew Zucker. The “tin people” design is marvelous. It has that nice “simplicity” to it. The oversized knight-looking heads and animated eyes with the small arms and legs and rounder body type are tremendously well done. It just looks great. The other creatures of this world are beautifully designed as well. They have great details to them and look splendidly creepy. Zucker does a great job of bringing everything to life. The pages have a nice sense of movement to them. And some lovely detail really brings the world to life.

The coloring work from Vittorio Astone fits the series perfectly. Astone fills the world with a darker color palette that fills Canto #1 with an ominous bleak tone as we are introduced to these characters and their enslaved conditions. But he also renders some great brighter tones as Canto sets off toward the end of the issue. It adds that nice sense of adventure and a “new” world when things brighten up. 

Derron Bennett’s lettering is also wonderfully done as well. He is a name I am not familiar with and readers often overlook lettering, but he does some great subtle things in this issue that really just set it off.


I was really impressed with Canto #1; it is a great start to an all-ages series. We get introduced to our characters, and this world is wonderfully different and full. The art reminds me of a lot from maybe Tim Burton’s animated stuff. It is dark and a little scary but also somehow kind of sweet and cute at the same time. All-ages books are hard to do and I feel this book captures that nice in-between of being kid-friendly but also serious as well.

It kind of feels like a 1980s-1990s animated film. You know, like The Secret of NIMH, The Iron Giant, The Land Before Time. Sometimes you get that feeling like “geez… this is a little grim and dire” but it has that joyfulness to it as well. I think the book’s tagline captures the book perfectly: “Part Fantasy. Part Adventure. All Heart”. That is all you need to know about Canto #1.

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