Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art: Dylan Burnett
Release Date: May 4th 2016
After Cry Havoc and The Spire, it’s safe to say that I was pretty excited at the prospect of a new Si Spurrier book. If we’ve never quite judged one as 100% essential, his work also hasn’t disappointed once. And I’m pleased to report that he hasn’t bucked that trend as yet.
Almost inevitably, you’ll find yourself drawn in by Spurrier’s deliciously sharp dialogue, and it has become clear across his various series that he’s something of an auteur when it comes to the delivery of said dialogue through the medium of speech bubbles. Three different letterers, and yet each series has characters who break from the usual uniform capitals, characters who speak in shades of grey, and in mixtures of the two. It’s a fascinating method of delivery, giving the dialogue intonations that might’ve otherwise escaped into the aether.
Burnett and Farrell are no slouch when it comes to the art rendering either, presenting us with an urban sprawl infused with a hazy smog that’s part intoxicating, part stifling – a shifting dreamscape that feels almost Gilliam-esque as the oddities that it’s barely concealing squirm beneath the surface.
If there is a criticism to be levelled at this stage, it’s that the book does almost lazily recycle a few tropes from other genres in the pursuit of getting the story set up, riffing long and hard on the ‘are you a cop?’ arc, and – the fantastical leanings aside – not doing anything particularly interesting with it at this stage. The dialogue and art do a fantastic job of fleshing out what’s otherwise a pretty skeletal story.
This is ultimately a far breezier book than the intricate supernatural ponderings of Cry Havoc, but doesn’t quite reach the close-to-whimsical fantastical overtures of The Spire either. If Spurrier is attempting to occupy all ends of the fantasy spectrum, then this is his entry fired precisely at the centre of it. That’s not to say that it’s a lesser book than either of its counterparts – but as with both of them, Spurrier just loves taking his time with his world-building, and whilst this issue has its share of delights, it’s not precisely clear just yet whether it’ll end up being worth it in the long haul, and it doesn’t have quite the same bite (hah!) as Cry Havoc did.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24