Boom! Studios 2016
By Frank Cho
Coloured by Marcio Menyz
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
So we open up with an extremely impressive opening sequence. The more we see of this world and it’s blend of magic and science the more I find myself captivated by it. Mixing in the history both real and fictional, by fictional I mean legends and myths, so that we have this world that’s been lulled into a false sense of security is utterly delightful.
This issue we see more of Thomas’ history with this world. The highlight of course being that he was there when Merlin defeated Morgan Le Fey and great personal cost. As the Cardinal continues to learn more about what is currently happening and the General with his need to be in control, like any military man, we are treated to some incredible storytelling. The characterisation is beyond what I was expecting and the plot twists and turns keep me going in ways that leave me wanting more. More details, more scenarios and definitely more information and that’s what a good strong story does it makes me long for more.
Also that we get as much behind the scenes look at what’s happening around Thomas as we do is great. These men think they shape the world and yet they are merely cogs in the wheel meddling in forces they cannot truly comprehend. It’s wonderful to see them think so surely of what they know and how they act and yet as a reader realise that they are as ineffective as a gnat. Their continued subterfuge with one another does make them more fun and interesting to read about and yes it leaves a smile on my face.
I have to say that Frank is focusing so much on men in this story is more than delightful. We all know he’s a fabulous artist when it comes to his women but the men here of all ages and backgrounds have such an authentic and handsome appeal. I’m a sucker for faces and what he brings to these pages just fills me with glee. The use of page layouts through angles and perspective are wonderfully done. Personally I think we need more backgrounds in general in comics so i’d like to see more of them here. The imagination and creativity in bringing these dragons to life is wonderfully done through linework to the colouring it really creates an impact.
Frank’s structuring of this story is impressive. The way he moves through the characters tying them into the story is seamless. The revelations are interesting and their behaviour well it’s what keeps us guessing. When it gets to that point in the story where Thomas sees Merlin’s face for the first time in 1,000 years things get ramped up. The story unfolds and as a reader we begin to see the mistakes the others have made thus far. Keeping him in the dark about what’s been going on and how the place is being run it all has consequences.
The end of this issue sets up the next issue beautifully. I cannot wait to see how a new battle between Merlin and Thomas goes should that actually happen. I’m interested to see if this will be Merlin’s triumph or if Thomas can muster the strength, courage and skill to beat him again and with any luck the human race can be saved.
Frank’s created something really cool here and it’s got the right blend of action, intrigue and adversarial relationships to keep us coming back time and again.