Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 18th December 2013
The latest action horror mini-series from Dark Horse has been solid to this point, but hasn’t quite managed to break out and become the ‘something special’ it undoubtedly could be. The ongoing storyline has been intriguing enough, but the character development has been fairly thin on the ground, leaving this title more like an action blockbuster than an intelligent indie film.
That said, when you have personal favourite of mine Juan Ferreyra on art duties, ‘action blockbuster’ might just be the way to go. Ferreyra continues his flair for shocking violence and menacing looking characters here, and really cuts loose once the latest threat to our heroes, arch-mage ‘Malcom’ interjects himself and the spells start flying.
Gischler’s plotting is terrific, his dialogue solidly realistic, but his characterization has been a little on the weak side to this point. Thankfully however, with most of the ‘cannon fodder’ characters out of the way, we finally get a chance to dig a little deeper into the inner thoughts and motivations of main protagonist Barnabus Black, and he finally gets a chance to come across as more than the generic action hero he had been painted as to this point.
Once again however, bad guy Cassian steals the show, providing easily the most memorable scene of this issue with his poignant interaction with his newborn son. Sadly though, as gripping as this exchange is, it does potentially deflate what seemed to be building as an epic showdown between Barnabus and Cassian, given that we’ve now seen the more human side of the arch-villain.
It’s difficult to predict how the story – which has been slowed down slightly by some (admittedly cool) battles with a variety of interesting enemies – is going to reach a satisfying conclusion in just one issue. If this were an ongoing series I’d have no concerns, but as a five-part mini, I’m definitely more than a little apprehensive. Overall though, this is an enjoyable enough read buoyed by some truly stellar artwork. Well worth a look.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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