Action Lab Danger Zone 2016
Written & Illustrated by James Whynot
Frank and his companions find themselves on a road laden with mystery, as every town they pass through is burned to the ground, abandoned. Once they reach a populated town, Frank wonders why the townspeople seem uneasy around him. Intrigue and danger loom around every corner as Frank and his companions finally reach civilization. Lines are drawn and friendships are challenged as Frank faces a new threat in the stunning conclusion to this first arc!
The more I see of this the more I like it. It’s like someone took Frankenstein threw him over the rainbow into a world that mixed Dune with Dungeons & Dragons. This has been an absolute joy getting to know. That Frank has no idea who he is and is traveling with this guy who’s all bark and little bite and this Messenger who doesn’t want to be there but has an ulterior motive just keeps us guessing. These are like the most unlikely of traveling companions where Frank’s Dorothy and he’s amassing those characters to lead to the wizard. It makes perfect sense that he needs them to get where he needs to go, face the opposition and unleash his full potential.
Plus if ever there was an example of a perfect organized mess it’s the interiors. No offense to James because I mean that in the nicest way possible, it’s chaotic and the pages are full of lines and detail and yet it has that amount of detail to what we see that it all makes everything seem incredibly clear. At first I thought i’d get a headache from it but instead it’s more like i’m lost in the creativity his mind brings to the page. With the only colour in all this being red it just adds a certain highlight to the work that is captivating.
I like that the Scavenger meets up with old flame and suddenly first names are used. Nola and Casey. So they do have names and that whole attachment thing is kind of bogus to a degree. Still with her involvement with him and the surprise character who swoops in to save the day it would seem to me that Frank’s posse is now complete. Though who represents Toto is still up for debate.
The characterization here is phenomenal. We really get a chance to learn more about these characters, what motivates them and how they behave under certain circumstances. Then there’s a huge battle with a character previously introduced, though this is the first time he’s encountered the group. It’s also a great opportunity to see more of Frank and his whole Blood Magic schtick in action. I know he doesn’t understand it and it’s clear he fights on instinct and rage but should he ever get all that under control he’ll be this world’s saviour and if he doesn’t he could be it’s downfall. Either way it sets up some very interesting confrontations for the future.
I applaud that James has the talent and skill to do all this by himself. Everything that we see is exactly what’s intended to get the maximum impact. Everything has a purpose and place in the story and it’s flow is simply wonderful. This is a great unexpected gem of a find and it takes you places you had no idea you’d never expect you could or should go.