Zenescope Entertainment 2020
Written by Dave Franchini
Illustrated by Alessio Mariani
Coloured by Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Lettered by Kurt Hathaway
Philadelphia is rich in history and home to many interesting people. One, none other than Anabelle “Belle” DiMarco, descends from a long line of beast hunters tasked with protecting our world from the creatures who stalk in the shadows. As Belle takes in a seemingly peaceful night, she stumbles upon a problem of the witchcraft variety, which only seems to worsen as the night goes on. Meanwhile, across town, Gretel, a woman cursed for nearly three-hundred years with magical powers and the need to eradicate the blight of witches from our world, has her own magical issues to deal with.
Now I certainly don’t mind these one-shots because it’s better than not getting any Belle stories at all but I really do wish that we’d get a four to six issue limited series. I mean Belle is a non-powered woman who relies on her gadgets, training and those in her inner circle to help her out and get through all this. This is the kind of heroine we want to see more of so keep the one-shots coming and hopefully we’ll get a longer series soon enough. Oh and it is certainly nice to see the guest star as well since she’s another newer character who doesn’t get the attention she deserves. I am totally loving this whole new direction Zenescope is moving in with intelligent and interesting storytelling.
I am enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are presented extremely well. Dave has some mad skills when it comes to how he structures a book and how he can work in the layers to make things that much more interesting. This one has potential and holes that can be explored at a later date and for now they really do keep the reader engaged. The character development that we see is fantastic and as we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances they find themselves in says a lot about them. The pacing here is super and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story for us it’s easy to see how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow.
The interiors here are spectacular! The linework is gorgeous and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised throughout really make the story sing. The attention to detail that we see is utterly amazing and through how we see the backgrounds with this amount of detail work really is impressive. The depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope of the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show this magnificent eye for storytelling. The colour work is brilliantly rendered here as well. How we see the hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is done so incredibly well. When you open the book and on the first page you see that first panel you know that this team is beyond amazing. The trees, the cars, the light sources all of these are being utilised in such a way that shows some high quality work at an extremely high level.
This is one of the more interesting books around and Belle continues to thrill and amaze readers with some intelligent writing and killer artwork. This is what you need to be reading right now.