Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artwork: Hayden Sherman
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Andworld Design
Release Date: 20th July 2022
Set for release next later this month from IDW, Dark Spaces: Wildfire serves as the first offering in the San Diego publisher’s new original content initiative. It sees the creative dream team (well, for me at least) of Scott Snyder and Hayden Sherman combining to tell the story of a group of women in the California inmate firefighting programme who have to decide whether or not to succumb to temptation when an opportunity that seems to good to pass up falls into their lap.
As I’ve mentioned on several occasions previously, Sherman is one of my absolute favourite artists in the business today, and I absolutely love his scratchy and energetic linework. Interestingly, Sherman adopts a strikingly different approach here, delivering a lot more detail and solidity, particularly when it comes to the characters themselves, without sacrificing any of that trademark energy. There’s a hint of Ian Bertram here that really works for me, and Hayden is given several opportunities to really flex his artistic muscle – including a pair of eye-popping double page spreads near the end.
Just as important to the visual punch of the issue is the striking colour work of Ronda Pattison, whose talent I’ve long since fallen in love with from her time on IDW’s ongoing TMNT series. Pattison really helps to convey the emotional flow of the series and the thick, oppressive environment of ‘the line’, while also some impressive narrative flair to the flashback and ‘possible future’ scenes.
As you might expect, Snyder does a fantastic job of structuring the narrative. He gives us an attention-grabbing snapshot of where the story is heading right at the beginning, before stepping away from the drama and allowing us to get to know the women of ‘Crew 513’, their C.O. Ruby Ma Wing (or “Ma”), and the circumstances that have led them to this point in their lives. The dialogue is believable, and the whole issue builds to a real crescendo that makes wanting to picking up issue two as soon as possible an absolute certainty.
A slow burn of a first issue, no pun intended, which takes its time establishing this intriguing cast of characters before the real meat of the story gets going in the final pages. Snyder, Sherman and Pattison do a stellar job of gradually ramping up the tension of what promises to be a thrilling pressure cooker of a heist that I simply can’t recommend highly enough.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]