Saturday, 3 September 2016
Artist: Becca T-R
Cover Art: John Lang
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Released: 27th July 2016
A mere glance at the above will indicate that this review is well over a month late/in the making. The reasons for this are personal, which makes them subjective and boring to anyone not involved, so I won't torment you with them. I have read comics in this period, but struggled with the drive and motivation to put into words how I feel. What has been important in this period of introspection has been the value that comics have to me, not mere financial face value, but something more intrinsic and dare I say spiritual. Comics have quite literally saved me. I have much more to explore surrounding this subject so look forward to further posts/essays.
Back though, to the matter at hand. Freelance Blues has been part of the healing process for me and issue 6 is the culmination of several months worth of storytelling rife with mystery and intrigue. Overall it's a satisfying denouement to a cracking story arc.
Lance is a compelling protagonist and I feel that most of his appeal resides in how readers are able to relate and identify with his struggle. Lance is really just a common man trying to make his way in the world and provide for his family. Who can say that they don't face that struggle most days in life? Lance ends up fighting monsters and beasts of myth, but this is just a weave of metaphor and hyperbole for what we mere humans view as our internal struggles externalised. Daffern and Leone have created the perfect foil for telling the story in this way, and with this issue they continue to tell this tale superbly. The pace picks up bringing the story to it's end nicely and revelations are exposed in great little pieces of storytelling and character work. I know it's been out a while now but I still won't include any spoilers just in case there are a few stragglers dragging their feet.
Now in the previous five issues the duty of art has fell to Vicki Tierney, taking up the pencil for this issue is Becca T-R, and to be honest the style of art is so similar that is almost indiscernible. There are only a few subtle differences in their styles that the storytelling doesn't suffer. Becca has a good grasp of the characters and the gifts of her art rest in it's ability to convey story, which for me is always the measure of a great comic artist. Tierney told the the first five issues excellently and I will always be a fan of hers, but T-R takes the reigns over just as well and brings the story to it's exciting conclusion.
As I've said, this issue has been around a while, so if you're following the series it's likely that you have already picked it up, so if you have then great, you'll love it too. However if you're completely new to the series and to Lance, then do yourself a favour, get all of the issues and immerse yourself in a wonderful world of storytelling.
Friday, 15 July 2016
Writers: Ian Daggers and Mike Leone
Art: Vicki Tierney
Inks: Diego More no
Cover: John Lang
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Release date: June 29th 2016
I'm a couple of weeks later reading this. It's been on my list since a few days before its release and unfortunately I've only just managed to find the time to indulge myself. It was well worth the wait.
It is well documented that I'm a rather large fan of Freelance Blues. I have been since its release and it's intricate barbed hooks laced with the venom of fantastic storytelling are such know well and truly in me.
Part of what makes this series so likeable, is the empathy and compassion you cannot help but feel for the central protagonist Lance. He's just an honest hard working chap desperately looking to catch a break. Though his struggles are tinged with the supernatural, the core of his conflict is common and easily relatable. Add in some snappy dialogue and we'll paced storytelling and Daffern and Leone are suddenly giving a master class in comic book writing.
I'm a huge fan of Tierney's art work and have been since my eyeballs first exploded taking in its greatness. Her grasp of characterization is a great strength in her story telling bow, but combined with brilliantly detailed panels and pages and you get a spectacle on each page.
If possible this issue is only stronger that the previous run, my only regret is that it took me so long to read it. If you have any sense you will get a hold of this comic and devour it. Though hopefully because it's been put a while, you already have.
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Writer/Artist: Kelly Williams
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Release date: 22nd June 2016
It's been a while since I've written a review, life has been rather hectic and I've really struggled to juggle everything around. It's a shame as writing reviews is a cathartic experience that I enjoy. I've read 'The Dark' several times since its release and it really is a fantastic comic.
I've been a fan of Kelly Williams since I was directed his way by Peter Simeti on twitter. His artwork is detailed, atmospheric and jaw dropping. Such is the depth of my admiration for his work that I've actually written comic scripts with his work in mind, adjusting panels and mood in order suit how I think his art process works. It's a little sad I know own but it's made me a better script writer.
Anyway, coming back to the tangent. Williams is a despicable genius who has written and drawn this standout comic. His take on certain myths about Witches, Boo Hag is a tense tale about Steve Rankin, a writer in search of truth behind legends, and finding something altogether more horrifying.
I know Williams firstly as an artist, from flicking through Twitter and seeing the gorgeous artwork that he posts sporadically. So the fact that he is a stellar writer is a pleasant surprise. For a story that consists mainly of dialogue between two men, the writing is wonderful work. Conversation is a tricky thing to do well, as is giving each character a voice, but Williams does both with style. The story flows well and the dialogue helps to accentuate the tensions that Williams' art projects off the page.
The artwork is a master class in storytelling. It positively drips atmosphere, each panel is lushly detailed and feels almost alive. The pages are deliberately inked and each line made aids in bringing the panels to life. At times I forgot I was reading a comic and looked up to discover that I wasn't in fact sat in a dark, haunting forest.
It's been around a while now, so the chances are you already have your paws on this excellent comic, but if you haven't then I can't recommend it highly enough, even if horror isn't your genre, this work is to be enjoyed.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Story: Justin M. Ryan
Art: Kristian Rossi
Letters: DC Hopkins
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Release date: June 15th 2016
The only problem with Trespasser is that after I've finished reading an issue, I have to wait for the next one. So I've been waiting for what feels like too long for today, and it didn't disappoint.
After the events and issue 2 and with the cover as enticing as it is, I was expecting this issue to be based a lot more on our science fiction extra terrestrial friends. However the focus of this issue is on the building anxieties in the house, the tension builds as things go from bad to worse. Ryan is a master craftsman, friction is woven into the script and as you read, the tension builds in you too, your heart begins to race and sweat beads on your forehead, it really makes reading quite the experience. Rossi's art once again is a fantastic spectacle to behold, it is moody and atmospheric and a master example of storytelling at its finest.
This issue is a study in character and relationships, to me that seems to be what trespasser is about, the dynamic between man and daughter. Ryan has a wonderful grasp of his characters and you can feel the personality behind each one, their spirit crackles on the page.
I cannot praise Trespasser enough, so be sure to believe the hype and get involved with a wonderful series that I really cannot do enough to praise.
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Writers: Dan Jury and Chris Jury
Pencils: Adhitya Zulkarnaen
Inks: Christopher Bryer
Colours: Pamela Siega
Letters: Michael Lagace
Cover Art: Jordan J. Nering
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Release date: June 1st 2016
Charge has been put for a week now. Everything I've sat down to try and write this something seems to have come up that I am unable to get out of. So it's nice to finally be able to get a moment to put something together about this cracking comic.
Actually a few days before this comic came out I fired up my Dropbox and found the review/preview copy of Charge #1 sat there just begging to be read. So it was quite serendipitous when I got the email from Alterna with the release details and link to review copy a few days later, forewarned is forearmed.
Charge is a great piece of tense science fiction thriller. It's got all the ingredients, a shady corporation, an uptight suit from head office, a remote cut off location and some scientists working on a clandestine experiment. Intersperse that with some time travel and you have a wonderfully crafted story in your hands.
Dan and Chris Jury have a wonderful understanding of their characters and material. With such a ensemble cast being used it would be easy for some of the characters to get lost in the crows and become a little one dimensional, but that doesn't happen here. The plot is well paced and reads smoothly, there are no clunky page turns or jilted storytelling that put off your reading experience.
The artwork is sublime, each member of the team performing their duties perfectly, then combining to create pages that are wonderful to look at and are an excellent paradigm of sequential art and, more importantly to me, storytelling.
In short this is a wonderful comic, the story is interesting and engaging, without over complication. The art is fluid, dynamic and a joy to view. I can't wait to see where the plot takes us next. Get yourself on comixology and treat yourself. You won't regret it at all.