Dark Horse Comics 2021
Written by Mike Richardson
Illustrated by Jordi Armengol
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Twenty-five years ago, a genuine masked hero came out of nowhere to declare war on crime. All of America celebrated the exploits of the black-clad vigilante as he took down one lawbreaker after another . . . and then he disappeared. But when down-on-his-luck investigator Jake Stevens is hired to find the long-missing dark avenger, his inquiries threaten to expose the myth behind the mask.
Well when I read this issue two things immediately struck me, one was that this wasn’t going to be anything even close to what I thought it was going to be. Second, I already have a theory in my head as to how this will go towards the end of the series though my speculation, which if you really wanna know you can ask me about, may be a little out there but to me it makes sense. What I love though is that while Jake is hired to discover what happened to the Dark Avenger I like that we don’t know anything that Jake doesn’t know so essentially we’re kind of like his ride along. For me it is a brilliant way to tell the story so that the reader doesn’t know more than the main character does.
I am absolutely a fan of the way that we see this being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented exceedingly well. The character development that we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job in establishing the personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages introducing the story, the characters and the world they live in really draws the reader in and leaves them wanting to see, know and learn more.
I am really rather impressed with the way that we see this being structured as well as how we see the layers within the story begin to emerge and grow. I am also liking the way that these layers open up new avenues to be explored. What these avenues do is add some great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is impeccably handled.
I am in love with the interiors here. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level & quality of detail within the work is bloody extraordinary. How we see backgrounds being utilised to not only enhance and expand the moments but also how they work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is utterly marvellous to see. The utilisation of the page layouts, which at times seem inspired, and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a spectacular understanding of how colour works and how to maximise their effects.
I am so excited for the rest of this story. How it engages the reader and has them use their mind to go off page and into their own imagination to put some semblance of the mystery into perspective is exquisitely handled. I am honestly flabbergasted by how well this is written and the level of characterisation that we see along with these mindbogglingly brilliant interiors bringing it all to life. If this isn’t on your radar than you really need to contact your local shop or subscription service and make sure you get a copy because you’ll kick yourself if you miss out on this one.