Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Artists: Nate Stockman, Paul Little, Pat Brosseau
Released: 18th February, 2015
It’s frequently tricky to nail down quite what makes a good fantasy series. What truly differentiates your Tolkeins from your Paolinis? Your Rices from your Meyers? The answer is… well it’s tricky, like I said. Ultimately, it’s different strokes for different folks – but for myself, the trick is in the detail. Your fantasy world can consist of but a single city, with nary a thought made regarding anything outside of it, and so long as it’s appropriately detailed, you’ll have me hook, line and sinker.
And so, yet again, I’m a-dangling helplessly at the end of a line cast by Mr Kel Symons – whilst we’re still very much in first act, there’s endless detail being thrown at us here. For very much the same reasons Shane outlined in his review of the first issue, there’s a hell of a lot to like here, particularly if you have developed a taste for Symons’ distinctive colloquialising in his dialogue, which is on full display here, and still eminently enjoyable.
Perhaps one of the only letdowns of the series thus far is the onomatopoeia from Pat Brosseau. It’s just… every so often, it’s kinda clunky, which is a bit of a disappointment considering his sterling work on Symons’ other book, BCP favourite The Mercenary Sea. His particular, pulpy stylings certainly suited that, and it would appear that he’s attempting to replicate that feat herein – but Reyn’s lack a certain subtlety, to the point where my suspension of disbelief lay in shards on the floor as I pondered over quite how ‘RAM!’ was settled on as a description of the sound of someone ramming something. Or ‘HACK!’ as that of someone… hacking… something. It’s like me saying ‘AUDIBLE SIGH!’ as my reaction to them.
And now I feel bad, because I do like the series as a whole, and that feels like a nitpick. But it’s a fairly insistent, distracting nit that keeps coming up, so I’m addressing the elephant in the room. That presumably has ‘AN ELEPHANT’ written on it.
Still, the art as a whole is great, the writing is of Symons’ consistently high standard, and though it’s early days, with the story lacking a distinct vector, it’s clear Symons is playing the long game, setting up multiple plot strands that see some minor resolution in the small picture, and bode rather well for the big one. Whether or not this series will ultimately become as essential as TMS is hard to say at this point – but it has all the structurally elements of a great series. It now needs that one great issue that knocks it all out the park, and if Symons’ previous work is anything to go by, that’ll happen soon. Keep an eye on this one, folks.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24