Review – Alice in Leatherland #4 (Black Mask)
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Iolanda Zanfardino
Artist: Elisa Romboli
Release Date: 21st July 2021
The latest issue of Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli’s bawdy-sex-comedy-with-a-heart goes on sale this week, and sees our lovelorn leading lady continuing to navigate the pitfalls of the San Francisco dating scene, all while dealing with her increasingly complicated feelings about friend and former collaborator Robin.
Alice’s trials and tribulations with online dating provide a humorous backbone to the story, with this latest issue featuring a pair of chuckle-worthy liaisons – each recapped in glorious ‘children’s story book’ style – but it’s the interactions between her and Robin that gives the series its heart. That said, their complicated relationship is starting to feel less like “will they, won’t they?” and more like “should they?”, although the creators have done a good job of building up an impressive level of investment in both of these seemingly unsuited characters.
Romboli’s artwork continues to be an absolute treat as the spotlight shines a little more brightly on Robin throughout the course of this issue. Opening with her latest passionate tryst and subsequent slightly toxic (over)reaction, Robin’s seemingly unfulfilling lifestyle is put centre stage here, providing a slightly more serious counterpoint to Alice’s lighthearted antics. Romboli handles both moods with equal flair though, displaying a depth of detail and expression that reminds me at times of Joëlle Jones.
The series also continues to display an impressive amount of diversity in its characters in terms of ethnicity, body type and sexual outlook, but it all falls naturally into the story without feeling like we’re ticking boxes anywhere (a hallmark of Black Mask and the bulk of their offerings). Zanfardino’s dialogue is fluid, bouncing between awkward drama and gags without missing a beat throughout the course of the issue.
The final pages feature something of a transformation for the series as it moves forwards, and the immense likeability of Alice as a protagonist continues to carry the load and ensure that anyone picking this issue up will be guaranteed to want to read the next. Blending wholesome fun with sizzling sexuality, Alice in Leatherland continues to be a series I have no problems recommending.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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