Action Lab Danger Zone 2019
Written by Rylend Grant
Illustrated by Fabio Alves
Coloured by Edson Ferreira
Lettered by HdE
Chapter 3: Mission from God
Abel Raines' gratuitously armed and armoured Cerberus teams hunt crusader-turned-crazed-vigilante Laird Mason day and night. Jut when it looks like all is lost, American's favourite malicious and malevolent masked lunatic gets a key assist from the unlikeliest of allies. In this delightfully twisted deconstruction of the superhero genre.
The black and white flashback to open this issue is fantastic. I love the idea of a psychic, though while seemingly fake is very much the real deal, seen in this manner. After all it adds both an air of mystery and legitimacy to seeing her. Not to forget that Laird knows her and is there for her help meaning there is so much more to her than meets the eye. It also makes me wonder if Abel can trust her the same way Laird does and if not then why? Aside from him thinking he's outgrown his britches and considers anyone other than himself a lesser man, or woman. See now right off the bat Rylend has our minds wandering right off the page as we speculate about the workings inside this world. The way we're engaged is wonderfully done and it just keeps happening throughout the course of the book.
I like the way we see the story & plot development and the character development being done here. They are at times one and the same and at others it's characterisation purely through visuals and regardless what we see is so well conceived and so well executed that we become a part of the story much more quickly than you'll realise. Rylend may have his chops in film and television but comics are a different beast and that he is able to do the work at this level and with this kind of talent and skill is incredible to witness.
I am both incredibly impressed and utterly fascinated by the fact that we know so little about Abel from his own point of view. We see plenty from the outside looking in and we've formed our own opinions based off what he's intent on doing to Laird but that's really it. Will we ever know more, and more importantly does it really matter if we do or don't? I like that it's each individual readers' viewpoint into his actions that allows them to form their opinions.
Fabio my man these Black and white sections that are done with this meticulous linework and attention to detail in how we see his psychic friend. The whole black & white noir feel that we get is beyond anything I was expecting and it shows off a tremendous amount of talent. Then there is the present and the same linework and the same attention to detail but with colours and a whole new vibe, tone and feel happens. The dichotomy of the two is sensational stuff and I like how the colours are utilised and how the hues and tones within show a steady gradation effect that sets this apart. The light sources and how they consistently show shading and shadows is extremely well done. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show this superb eye for storytelling. Then there is how we see the backgrounds being utilised here. The enhance the moment and bring a sense of size and scope to the story.
Laird may not think his daughter doesn't want to see him but I agree she needs to. He's dying and in this frame of mind knowing what he does they both need the closure before he passes on. Now that that's said why do I feel the complete opposite about Abel? I told you never stop going off script here and that to me makes Rylend one of the top rising stars in the industry. Here's hoping Action Lab is smart enough to keep him doing these stories for us!