Review – Canto and the Clockwork Fairies (one-shot) (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: David. M. Booher
Artwork: Drew Zucker
Colours: Vittorio Astone
Letters: Deron Bennett
Release Date: 22nd July 2020

I consider myself lucky having had the opportunity to review the debut series of Booher et als. Canto; following the plucky hero on his journey of adventure and emotional discovery. There was a danger in getting my hands on this that I’d end up being overly gushy based on prior established bias, or even setting too high a bar based on what had come before. Thankfully, my fear of the latter was ill founded. As to the former, well, I’ll try to be as constructively critical as I can…

Standalone stories are normally all well and good, offering a break in an arc and a chance to explore a different facet of the grander tale. Here, in a one-shot format, we also must contend with those who might be picking up and jumping on for the first time. On the whole, I think there’s a little too much nuance for new readers to fully grasp all that’s going on, but hopefully their interest will be piqued enough to seek out the first arc and devour it like I did.

Having left their lives of servitude and misery, the clockworks are seeking a new home having now adopted names of their own. Accompanied by the loyal, and frighteningly playful, malorex, the seasoned and resolute warrior Canto stumbles onto a new but all too similar threat.

The storytelling on display, both in written and visual form, is as tight here as it was throughout the first arc. Playing the less is more card, I can’t help but be pulled back into this wonderfully grim world and adding all manner of effects in my head. One can almost sense all the ambient details, and any comic that can take you to that suspension of disbelief is a treasure.

Zuker and Astone‘s art continues to deliver a real appeal. I’ve said before that building so much expression into faces devoid of ‘traditional’ detail is nothing short of wizardry. Special mention for the freakishly grotesque ‘mechano-hag’, truly the stuff of ‘80s fantasy nightmares! The total effect wouldn’t be the same either without Bennett‘s letters. I wasn’t sure about the coloured bubbles at first but the effect really grew on me and built up the idea of ethereal and melodic fairy speech.

Whilst this story might be seen as being a bit ‘monster of the week’ in approach, it still feels fresh and delivers an ending that I didn’t anticipate. I definitely don’t want to spoil anything but what I thought might have been a touch of foreshadowing was perhaps just unintentional diversion. I was left reeling at the implications of where this new arc is going. Despite the superficial whimsy, Canto is a dark world and innocence is looking rarer than ever. More of this please.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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