Source Point Press 2021
Written by Michael Fleizach & Todd Hunt
Illustrated by Dave Mims
Lettered by Zack Turner
A missing girl; a city on the brink of an all-out drug war; and our beloved anti-hero just trying to keep it all together - we're in for one hell of a night. With every page turn, our girl's identity becomes more crystal; with every passing moment Francis becomes more dope sick. Can he stay straight long enough to save her? We're stumbling towards our destiny, and now the bloodshed is about to begin.
It took me a few to fully grasp what it was I had read here. There’s this almost chaotic way that this issue is being told that’s as close to being on a high where life can be seen through a distorted lens. While I’ve never used a needle or cooked something to get high I did experiment when I was younger with acid and shrooms which is the closes I can equate this to, seeing what’s there as something it isn’t but through that lens it makes perfect sense. However, I digress because we’re talking about the story and Francis’ life and what he’s experiencing not just how I can relate to what he goes through. Though it does show how engaged and invested I am in this story and that speaks volumes to me.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter continue to flesh these characters out more fully. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story we find ourselves feeling much like Alice and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and it’s glorious.
I am appreciating the way that this is being structured and how the layers within the story continue to grow, evolve and strengthen. The layers of course contain the characterisation, the plot twists and other good bits and character introductions that add so much depth, dimension and complexity to the story. Also it’s interesting to see just how much of an addict Francis is during his trip to the loo. The way we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved amazingly well.
The interiors here continue to blow me away. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is so sensationally rendered. There are moments like Mr. Finch being draped by the roles of film where the creativity and imagination shine so brightly or so disturbingly as when we see Francis’ arm or the apropos tea party guests, which I guess is where the Mad Hatter reference really comes from. Normally I clamour for more backgrounds but the characters themselves are so interesting and detailed that i’m okay without them. We still get to see the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story thanks to how we see the composition within the panels. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is brilliantly rendered. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a stellar eye for how colour works.
I dunno what’s going on here but I sincerely hope that our patchwork queen isn’t really as cruel as that, I mean she really is but still these two are too fantastical to make such a short appearance in this series. This is all kinds of weird wrapped up in the strange with a side of oddball sauce and I doubt anyone else could get this to work as well as this creative team. The writing is superb and the interiors are mind numbing which captivates the readers as much as the creativity and imagination it takes to tell such an enigmatic and twisted tale.