Dark Horse Comics 2020
Written by Evan Dorkin
Illustrated by Veronica & Andy Fish
Lettered by Greg McKenna
The students learn about the Dark Wisdom conspiracy, but can they warn everyone else about the planned attack on Dean Ogden's midnight funeral? Probably not, because we still have an issue to go! Also Chimp Ho Tep's second escape attempt, an occult heist scheme, scrying, dying, corpse dumping, a dead art student, and the meat from space that eats your face. WTF?
First I adore the way that this is being done, by that I mean the multiple arcs as mini-series one after the other. In lieu of an ongoing monthly this is what the future of comics franchises looks like. Evan does an amazing job here giving the kids time to shine on their own as well as within their group and I don’t think this would work as well if this were a monthly. Though what do I know? I am also a huge fan of the way that Evan is able to take the kids and surround them with the story so that regardless of what we see it is all meant for them to be a part of be it hero or victim. There is a sophistication to the way that this is written that we just done see day to day.
I love the way that this is being told. How we see the story & plot development constantly moving forward thanks to how we see the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information. I get it that there are forces working against the school and that we need to kind of know what they are up to, though I did like the way we saw the transference of knowledge so the reader is in the dark about what was said. All this leads me into the character development that we see. The mix of personalities and how we see them all play off one another is absolutely brilliant. To see them grow throughout not just the arc but through the actions they take and how they react to the situations and circumstances is what we see in “real time.” How we see the pacing here as it guides us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way highlights the book's ebb & flow as well as how the book is structured.
It is really nice to see this side of the Fish’s. That they retain their signature style of work this darker more horror-esque atmosphere shines through extremely well. The imagination and creativity on display through the magic that is being done really has this amazing impact upon the reader. I love seeing backgrounds, I really do. I think they are so necessary to bring us the feeling of the moment or if they are in cramped quarters this is what I wanna see. Here we get some just not enough for me. Otherwise the utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspectives in the panels show a good, solid eye for storytelling. The colour work is beautiful as usual. I like how we see the choice of colours being utilised and how the various hues and tones are utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work.
The way this is being told and how we see the layering and subplots all working side by side is really something great to see. Getting into the school was the easy part for as soon as they arrived it seems their presence woke something up and set a series of events into motion that are quickly spiralling out of control. This is quite possibly one of if not the best book about magic school that we’ve seen, heck even boarding school books can be added into that category because there’s nothing like trying to survive your first year as you have to teach yourself on the fly. This really is one of my personal favourites.