Vertigo Comics 2018
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Riley Rossmo
Coloured by Ivan Plascencia
Lettered by Deron Bennett
Myth, hack, sex symbol, stark raving lunatic—all of these words have been used to describe Antonio Luna, the world’s greatest living adventurer. Or at least he was until 20 years ago, when he mysteriously vanished from the public eye. Now the ninety-year-old has returned and claims to be on his deathbed. Which is where Valentine Richards, a failed novelist turned reporter, comes in. Val is hired to travel to Luna’s remote castle home and uncover where the old star has been all these years, and just how much of what he says is actually true. But once Val starts to hear Luna’s tale, she finds herself entering into an insane world of psychedelic violence and explosive supernatural adventure.
Dammit all to hell, I knew this collaboration was going to be brilliant and I was right! Oh my god seriously I couldn’t see or imagine a better first issue than this one. Crass and full of surprises the writing Joshua brings us is some of his best work that I’ve ever seen and the work Riley does is not only inspired but you can tell that he was having fun. Hell they both had doing this and it bleeds right onto the page and into the reader that feeling that this was something special. Jealous that I don’t have this level or kind of talent yeah of course but by that same token I’m thrilled to just be a reader here.
I love the way this book is structured and the flow through the pages. For some odd reason I really did not expect this to play out like it did. So kudos for shocking the heck out of me and I have no idea why that reasoning works more time than not but the way the premise sounded to me was quite natural. Did we have any real reason to believe we weren’t going to get what was presented? I do want to hear his life story between running around chasing the past, present and future of his existence. Val as a character in her own right is the perfect companion for him based on what we have seen of them both.
Oh Mister Rossmo don’t think for a moment that the work here is anything other than extraordinary! Shall we say that Luna’s reveal is something I want a version of just for me with that belt included because honestly I almost fell off the couch. Meanwhile the use of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective show off an amazing eye for storytelling. The house Val drives up to yeah total wow factor. The utilisation of backgrounds here is superb to see and it makes the moments that much more impressive. I love how it all is meant to add character and infuse some characterisation into what we see.
I’ve been a fan of Joshua’s for a long time, I still want to see a re-launch of Necessary Evil, now and he just keeps getting better and better all the time. I don’t know what level is the pique but for him I’m not sure there really is one at this point. The characterisation here that is used in their dialogue, narration and visual aides, I mean Val on the toilet, is something that connects us to these characters in ways you don’t expect.
Just when you thought you couldn’t enjoy a pair of creators any more than you already do something like this comes along and says “hold my beer!” This is beyond all expectations and holds a certain kind of promise within it’s pages to be everything you need in your life without realising it until you’ve read it.