Aspen Comics 2017
Written by J.T. Krul
Illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro
Coloured by Wes Hartman
Lettered by Zen
The hunt for Malakai intensified as the forces of magic collided inside a trendy nightclub, with Grace nearly capturing him, but not before Onyx and Spark were able to fend her off. meanwhile Sonia found herself smitten with Malakai, but Benoist and PJ warned her to be cautious of anyone under the tutelage of Rainier…
I have to say that this is probably more interesting to me then the original was. That’s quite an accomplishment too because the original is a classic now. Still with this issue’s focus on Rainier we get a much better look at him and his relationship with Malakai, all from his point of view. So this is honest, brutal and exactly what we wanted to see even if at times it makes you shudder. Still the way that J.T. does the characterisation here is superb and that he’s a villain and man we’re not supposed to like well we are given more than ample reason.
Also let’s consider for a moment that before the world was rewritten that Rainier had no arms and legs and yet thrived. Now with his whole body intact and the means and knowledge of the Samusara and minions like Onyx and Spark it seems he’s in a much greater position to do more damage. He’s quite literally a new man and as such we shouldn’t assume anything about him, well other than he’s evil that goes without saying.
Giuseppe and Wes do some really nice work on the interiors here. I like the way it looks, the tone, the mood and feel of of the characters and the classic colouring of the hair and wings tie it to the past but also keep it moving into the future. The use of page layouts through their angles, perspective and yes including backgrounds here we get so much more understanding. This is how the two should work in sync to tell a story in a way where the sum is greater than it’s parts.
While I look forward to Malakai learning the truth behind the motivations of his benefactor for now i’m okay with how things are going. I like this direction where Malakai is the inadvertent hero and is unaware of his destiny, lost and alone without his friends to help guide him it’s much more interesting in my eyes. Though I do have a feeling that Malakai’s world will soon come crashing down around him if the events that close this issue are any indication.
We’ve seen various companies try to streamline their universe or merge all their multiple dimensions into one with varying degrees of success. Yes Aspen had less to work with but that didn’t stop them from doing this the right way. Including putting out the all new books featuring their characters and where they fit into the new scheme of things.
Fathom may be the company’s best known but J.T. and crew are making a strong case for putting out their best!