Vault Comics 2017
Written by Adrian Wassel & David Booher
Illustrated by Nick Robles
Lettered by Deron Bennett
Out of options, Madsen descends into the city of Lustrum, deep beneath the Alaskan tundra. First up: Find his contact, Chris Cancel. Or make enough noise that Cancel finds him. Next: Find his perp. Cancel has a plan. All they have to do is free a friend from one dangerous Ward, who should be able to get them into the next dangerous Ward. Simple enough.
With any new company a few delays and start up woes are bound to happen but here we are with the second issue and I have to say it’s well worth the wait. I was pleased that when I thought about the book before reading it that I was able to pretty quickly recall the issue, so it has that staying power if you can just think about the book and recall the details. I will say the whole premise behind this story is phenomenal and that a prison to house aliens on Earth hidden from the populace was a nice premise to start with. Then sending in an unsuspecting bounty hunter in Madsen and you’ve got a lot of potential for some great storytelling.
Picking up where we left off Madsen is getting himself ready to acclimate with the prisons populace. Not only isn’t Madsen prepared for this but honestly neither are we. Once again I am extremely impressed with the quality of storytelling here. The way that this book is structured is fantastic as we get to see action, plot advancement, more action all the while filled with twists and turns that will continue to shape the way we see this series. I am a fan of how this issue starts and how the action is pretty much there from the get-go since it sets the tone for not only how things will proceed but for how we are supposed to see this place.
Speaking of how we’re supposed to see this place the work Nick does here blows me away. His eye for storytelling is strong, bold and innovative as we see through the use of the page layouts through their angles and perspective. Then there’s the utilisation of backgrounds, would I like to see every panel used as such sure but the amount of work he puts into this is so nice to see. The weight of the linework is crisp, clean and strong so that everything we see feels right and natural. His use of colours in places like the turquoise hair is stellar work and he carries that look and feel throughout the issue making him someone to keep your eye on.
I like Madsen’s confidence. He thought this was going to be an in and out extraction but as I said he’s ill prepared for this mission. Still that this characterisation, and honestly every character we’re introduced to, is so strong that we understand his mindset and how he thinks already is mighty impressive. The new characters that are introduced here really add a certain flair to the book. Whether they appear to be allies, his target or the villainous denizens of this macabre city we get a really good look at them.
The guys here manage to mix, merge or blend several genre feels into this like they decided to put a bunch of ingredients in a blender and then use what came out. There’s a mission impossible feel to this, a sci-fi/horror flick aspect, an almost redemption quality to the character as well as straight up mystery and the fact that there is so much creativity and imagination on display here is mind boggling.
Once again I have to say this THIS is why I love small press/indie books because the storytelling is raw, honest and extremely well done. You know this is done out of sheer love for what they do first and foremost and there’s no way you don’t feel that.