Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Casper Wijngaard, Jim Campbell (Letters)
Release Date:10th February, 2016
So after m’esteemed colleague John lovingly branding this series ‘bat-shit insane’, I – like any human of sound mind and spirit – immediately found myself compelled to devour the existing issues (at that point only #1 and #2), and found myself agreeing. Then – like any human of sound mind and spirit – I promptly forgot to pick up issue 3. I’m busy, and there’s lots of things to read, and seriously you should see the length of my list of stuff I should probably read/watch/listen to, and this went on the bottom (as everything does), and yes I’m a bad person. Sue me.
But when duty calls, you move stuff up your list, and when this was slid my way, there was a murmur of excitement in Ross-town (population 1).
And what can I say beyond it remains bat-shit insane, but utterly, utterly compelling. The fusion of gorgeous, psychedelic artwork and deliciously neo-noir storytelling never lets up, and some ingenious design choices in the panelling and page structures close to force you to go back and pore over each one in detail. Imagine if Jamie McKelvie had dropped a ton of acid before hitting the drawing board for Wicked + The Divine, and your part of the way to getting a grasp of how wonderful this comic looks. It’s more roughly hewn than the McKelvie and Gillen opus, granted, but that only adds to its charms. The creature design also deserves a special mention, with ‘snake mannequins’ set to fuel my nightmares for the next few weeks. Fantastic, thanks guys.
The narrative drives forward at a great pace, and Watters’ dialogue and narration go down silky-smooth, even inducing a few hearty laughs – particularly in the way that issue 4 opens, with its throwback to the first issue’s first panel, only writ large. The mystery surrounding Bridgette and The Thumb takes a somewhat telegraphed twist, but it’s executed in way that surprises just when you think you know what’s coming. All the while, it skirts around the edges of explaining quite who Clay was before he wound up in Limbo. It’s still yet to be printed quite how that pans out, but if the current state of the narrative is any indication, we’re due a deeply satisfying resolution to the story.
If I must generate an actual criticism, the final page of the issue is one of the most brazen cocktease cliffhangers I’ve seen in years. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. So I won’t.
You owe it to yourself to get aboard this terrific series. Full of sly wit, beautiful art, and a fascinating tale of mystery and discovery in an intriguing world, there’s really no reason to deny yourself the pleasure of reading it. And, yeah I remember that John gave it 4 last time. It just moved up the ladder. Sue me.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24