Review – Curse Words #3 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Story: Charles Soule
Art: Ryan Browne
Release Date: 22nd March 2017

With Wizord, the world’s favourite (well, only) wizard being unceremoniously stripped of his magic powers at the end of the previous issue, the latest chapter of Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s Curse Words sees our “hero” reacting like any of us would in his position – by hitting the local bar and getting loaded.

The series has established itself to this point with a heady blend of offbeat humour and straight-up fantasy, and while the tone has been a little inconsistent at times, the overall package has been a thoroughly enjoyable one — a trend I’m happy to report continues here. The issue alternates between Wizord’s drinking session and the events unfolding on the Hole World, as Sizzajee’s latest hired gun prepares to deliver the killing blow to our powerless wizard.

It has to be said that the scenes in the Hole World do feel ever so slightly derivative, with Wizord’s scorned ex Ruby Stitch enhancing her magic powers before being forced to grudgingly interject herself into a war between cherubs and tiger-people (as you do).  It’s all a little “fantasy 101”, and while it does admittedly provide an impressive showcase for Ruby’s not inconsiderable abilities, it doesn’t – at least in the short-term – seem to advance the main story much, if at all.

Thankfully, the scenes on Earth featuring Wizord drowning his sorrows following the loss of his magic powers are pure gold, particularly his drunken interactions with his talking Koala familiar Margaret.  The stuff with the beard (or lack thereof) is fantastic, as is the execution of Margaret’s somewhat unexpected play to help Wizord get some of his magic back.

Once again, Ryan Browne does an utterly fantastic job with the artwork, packing the pages with vibrant, thick-lined characters and epic double-page splashes, and particularly shining during the aforementioned cherub/tiger-people skirmish.  Much like the story itself, there’s absolutely nothing subtle about the artwork, and the full-on colour work from Browne, Michael Garland and Michael Parkinson really helps to give the book a truly unique aesthetic.

Ultimately then, while it does lose a little of its uniqueness during the sequences in the Hole World, there’s no denying that Curse Words is still a fun, funny and visually striking read.  Soule and Browne continue to work in perfect harmony here, and the sheer enthusiasm that these two creators clearly have for this title make it almost impossible not to enjoy.

Rating: 4/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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