Aspen Comics 2017
Written by J.T. Krul
Illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro
Coloured by Wes Hartman
Lettered by Zen
Rainier’s tragic past has forged a rage fueled present that will stop at nothing to achieve his dark aims—including burning down an orphanage filled with children. However, as Grace horrifically discovered--his most sinister plan yet has already been set into motion after he successfully captured-- and is holding hostage-- all five of the magical Masters…
J.T. has written it all and that’s not an exaggeration either from the big two to being a stalwart for Aspen he’s one of the most versatile writers that exist today. Regardless if it’s magic, superheroes or whatnot there is one constant that he’s got in all this and that is he can craft a story so beautifully. From premise, to plot development through its characterisation and execution of all things he can make you believe anything is possible and that just like you the characters grow and evolve depending on their experiences.
I think what really hits me about this issue isn’t that Malakai is going to be Magic’s saviour or that the players are all brought together in a way we’ve never seen before. It’s the way that Mal finds his friends and not to mention girlfriend. The universe may have realigned itself and Rainier was able to capitalise on that but destiny and fate they have ways of making sure what’s meant to be happens no matter how surreptitious or roundabout the route has to take. That you can see that happen within the story as it unfolds it leaves quite the impression.
I like the interiors here. For too long at Aspen it seemed like everyone tried to emulate Turner’s style. While it’s admirable it wasn’t right you need to do your thing while paying homage to the man who started all this. What Giuseppe does is beautiful he’s got strong, clean linework that comes across so effortlessly. The attention to detail, the utilisation of page layouts through angles and perspective are superb. The colouring from Wes is divine and is literally what ties this to the Aspen brand. Now it’s no secret i’m a huge proponent of using backgrounds and while i’d like to see more the ones we see are hugely effective.
Also I like that this story isn’t being rushed and that eight issues should be sufficient to re-introduce us to the Soulfire Universe. It gives J.T. that right amount of time to really flesh out his ideas and implement them. The pacing here as been extraordinary to see and that impacts the story development and how we as readers feel about how much revelations and hidden gems there are here. How we see Rainier believing he has the upper hand, how the forces within the universe to conspire for things to happen as they should and how comfortable the bad guys get when they feel too in control make this more exciting, thrilling and open for the unexpected in the greatest possible ways.
Companies, series creators all have an ebb and flow to their properties and how they come across. Aspen is riding the wave and it’s getting to be high tide and well worth getting on board now.