AWA Upshot Studios 2021
By Frank Cho
Coloured by Sabine Rich
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
Ten hard-as-nails women face off in an ancient contest of champions where the winner truly takes all: the title of "Queen of the Galaxy." To win the challenge each contestant must survive the hazards of the planet's harsh landscape, the ferocious predators on and below its surface, and their fellow contestants. This edition of the contest has a twist: one of the contestants is an infiltrator who has her eye on something bigger than the prize. Who is she and what does she really want? In this concluding issue the secrets are revealed...and the empire will never be the same!
Bravissimo! This issue brings the contest to its conclusion and it left me a tad flabbergasted to say the least. We knew there was going to be some kind of twist since there was one contestant who infiltrated the contest but I wasn’t prepared for what we saw happen within these pages. So that I was fooled completely and I have to give congratulations for that because I wasn’t sure it would be possible to see such a monumental shock take place. So yeah this lived up to my expectations and then completely surpassed them and took me right on to church and served me up but good.
I’m such 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 are presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job continuing to flesh out their personalities. The pacing is extraordinary and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns and the revelation we’re left with jaws agape at what we see.
I’m loving the way that we see this being structured and how the layer within the story continues to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking the way we see the layers opening up new avenues to be explored. These layers add some wonderful depth, dimension and complexity to the story and I’d love to share an example but I can’t spoil any of this issue at all, it needs to be read. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
The interiors here are where Frank really shines and I love that his women are beautiful, have a great sense of anatomy, they look like real women, plus they have sensuality to them. The linework is absolutely exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail within the work and it’s sensationally well rendered. I do wish we would see more backgrounds however, how we see the composition within the panels as they bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a sensational understanding of how colour works.
This really, really became a can’t miss series with a phenomenal can’t miss ending. Every step of the way this story has taken twists and turns that at times were interesting, slightly predictable and wildly outrageous. I’ve enjoyed this a lot more than I was thinking I would and it’s been a real hoot and a half treat to read. You won’t see this ending coming and you’ll thank me for telling you to pick this up, order the trade!