Black Mask Comics 2017
Created & Written by Patrick Kindlon
Created & Illustrated by Maria Llovet
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Celebrity-socialite Reno Selleti doesn’t believe in very much beyond Instagram comments, hipster drugs, and the flash of paparazzi cameras, so when a friend invites her to an EYES WIDE SHUT-type party she goes along mostly for the lulz. But the joke doesn’t feel as funny when she realizes it’s an actual occult ritual, and suddenly she’s seeing things… horrifying apparitions trying to warn her. “RUN.”
There’s a lot to like about this from the very beginning. The concept alone is intriguing and the thought of celebrity-socialite being the star of the story brings mixed emotions. I mean it didn’t work out so well for Paris and the dreaded K clan well I despise them. Still thanks to this almost retro sixties vibe that Maria brings to the interiors which mixes the past and the present in this luxurious and eye catching way we are drawn right into the story.
I do think that Reno and Kyle’s adventure starts off with the kind of realistic naivete that many prescribe to this world. With the waitstaff naked handing out drinks, condoms and lube and everyone wearing their Masquerade Masks it’s pretty obvious the way this night is supposed to go. But when our pair head outside and see a statue things begin to take on a decidedly different turn. This is where Patrick takes things to a whole new level. Aside from Reno knowing more than we think she should about local history the statue represents something else altogether.
So while the event the party is thrown for begins and Reno inadvertently taking part in her own way right on cue I was hoping that the young man talking to them about the statue would partake with Kyle. While I understand male homosexuality makes a lot of men nervous in this setting with a all the lesbian stuff going on I mean really would’ve it have killed anyone to do that? Still if Kyle remained chaste while those around him succumbed that would put him in a unique position.
Maria’s visuals here are so very unusually nice. There’s a lot of great use of page layouts with their angles and perspective. Most impressive is the small screen shots on the pages to represent what’s happening in the garden. It makes the whole thing erotic without being crass and that’s a fine line to straddle so well. She definitely has a great unique style to her work and there’s this blend of detail oriented and abstract that shouldn’t play well each other but she makes work with apparent ease.
I have to say that the way Patrick paced this issue and the story is extremely well done. It feels like there is enough happening for an oversized issue and it’s not. By the time it ends you want the next chapter already and that kind of desire is what we look for nowadays. The way the supernatural element has been woven into this isn’t for shock and awe it’s really very well managed so that there’s an element of creepiness that makes Reno seem to appear not quite all there. It essentially makes her an interesting character for the reader instead of those normally are loathe to follow in the real world.
Not sure about Patrick’s honesty in the afterward. I can appreciate the candour but I enjoy him writing like this where he’s able to explore and grow his own way not trying to find a place at the big two. Make the smaller press like Black Mask something to be desired by leaving the mark of amazing storytelling in these pages. I’m happy to follow his work here anytime he does something.