Image Comics 2019
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
Lettered & Designed by Steve Wands
“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Part Four (of Five)
The hit series continues as readers catch up with the evil vampire witch Mother inside her floating castle on the planet Mata. She’s been tipped off that a force for hope has come to free the oppressed people of her galaxy, but she won’t give up her power without a star-spanning magical conflagration.
I think this story is utterly amazing. Mother is one of the creepiest characters to have been introduced in comics in I don't know how long. She reminds me of Granny Goodness but much more calculating, devious and devoid of compassion. She makes this story and this book that much more interesting and scary as we know her reputation and what she's capable of we just don't know the full lengths she's willing to go and that scares the hell out of me.
There is something about Militia and her father that Jeff brings to this that has this undefinable quality which endears them to the reader. We see them, we get excited about them and we root and cheer for them to outsmart and overcome the forces chasing them. For now they certainly aren't on Mother's radar but only her forces that are running this planet. They want either dead or conditioned so that they follow Mother's rules and laws. So that we see this as a very action/adventure oriented segment it really has this great adrenaline-fuelled feel to it.
I am a huge fan of the way that Jeff has structured this book. How the pacing is able to take the story & plot development and character development weave them in and out of each other all the while moving the story ever forward. We get to see the story split between Mother and the father/daughter duo and it's done so well and the breaks between allow each story to still feel like they are progressing at their natural pace. It is so well done and it is so accessible that sometimes you forget that the breaks occur or that the characters have gone to a new point in their story evolution. This is something I see from Jeff that I don't see from anyone else and it's why he can be so prolific with his writing, he's literally that just good.
Dustin's work here has grown by leaps and bounds since he first started and when we got to that two page spread I practically gasped out loud at the imagery on the page. It is an utterly gorgeous piece and it just leaves the reader in awe of what it took to make it come to life. The utilisation of the page layout and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a marvellous eye for storytelling. The composition inside the panels with how we see the people, the backgrounds and the overall zen of it is remarkable. The colour work is equally as brilliant and that this is watercolours which he does in such a way that make so many different hues and tones is breathtaking.
With every event now matter how large or how small that we see within this book the answers we get only beget more questions. I love that too since of course it means that I have to come back, there is no question regarding that. This book has that feeling of a romantic fantasy which belies the violence and atrocities being committed. Everywhere I turn I am intrigued and excited by what we see and how it's presented, now how often can you say that?