Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artwork: Goran Sudžuka
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Lettering: Rob Steen
Release Date: 29th May 2019
Shaw and McGregor continue to wander the shadowy vaulted halls of Notre Dame, unwillingly guided by Carnahan, looking for answers and an escape from their nightmare, when a figure from McGregor’s past appears to torment and horrify the pair.
I’ve been a huge fan of this series from day one but I have to say that this issue, for me, lacks the impact and sense of dread that other issues have. McGregor’s back story, whilst horrific in itself, it just doesn’t deliver on its promise. The teenage Patrick Nathan is certainly unsettling and has the potential to be a truly horrifying character. The adult Patrick Nathan should make your flesh crawl, but in reality he just comes across as a giant douche and not really worth a second thought.
The first couple of issues dealt quite effectively with McGregor’s homosexuality and his struggle for acceptance within his profession. Unfortunately, for me, this issue kind of undoes all of that. What should have been a powerful, self-affirming moment in his life, ultimately just leaves him emasculated and looking naïve. Shaw is also left looking impotent and lacking the strength she has previously shown.
As far as plot progression goes, this issue comes across as filler, a placeholder for whatever is coming next, and I’m not sure it’s an elaboration that we needed to move forward. The plot and narrative that Ennis is weaving in this series is tense and dark and cryptic and horrifying and while every story needs a moment to catch its breath and change pace from time to time, this issue took me out of the flow completely.
Goran Sudžuka’s artwork also seems a little lackluster in this issue. The previously taut and terrifying imagery he has produced for this series seems to have lost its focus here. I’m not entirely sure what the whole McGregor/Nathan amalgam was supposed to evoke, but it just fell flat, particularly compared to the incredibly high standard of the horrors Sudžuka has previously delivered.
Maybe I’m being hyper-critical, or maybe I’m just getting impatient to get to the big reveal. I’m not averse to the concept of delayed gratification but I’m at the point where if I don’t get some answers soon I’m likely to throw a tantrum.
On the whole this isn’t a bad issue. It’s well written. It’s well drawn. It’s just lacking the tension and flow of previous issues in the series.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek