Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by David Lorenzo Riveiro
Coloured by Erick Arciniega
Arcane Acre’s first school year ended on a devastating note. Possessed by the spirits of the Mad Hatter, Violet Liddle killed her fellow student, Hailey, and released an enemy of untold power: Bloody Bones. Even the Horde fell before him, losing their leader—the Dark One—to his might. After making some changes, Arcane Acre now enters its second year in the hopes that they may carry on in their fight against evil.
There’s something interesting about the idea of kids from different realms going to a magic school in Pennsylvania of all places. Yes it has that beginning of a Harry Potter feel but much more dangerous and considering what these kids have already been through and as independent as they are they don’t have to go looking for trouble because trouble will invariably find them. Honestly that’s half the fun here though.
David and Erick work extremely well together and I’m thrilled by the interior artwork. Right off the bat you see how nice the work they do is and with the main building just is creepy and breathtaking at the same time. Seriously it’s almost like the setting out of horror movie and that alone is marvelous. They make the kids look like teenagers with those facial expressions and attitude that comes from them that demonstrates nicely the child struggling with the emerging adult within each of them.
Now that the new school year is starting the kids now have school uniforms and there’s a slight change in how the school will be run. Pat manages to simultaneously start a new chapter and a good jumping on point in the series while keeping what’s happened before at the forefront and still relevant and easy to understand and follow.
We do meet a new student here in Lance Du Lac from Wonderland, as if having Violet there wasn’t dangerous enough let’s add a new untested unknown Wonderland resident back to the mix. Yeah he isn’t going to be earning their trust anytime soon. Meanwhile Belinda and Shang find another potential student whose face is very much Dia De La Muerta and controls zombies, perhaps New Orleans or Mexican in nature.
I have to say I love that the school will have a rotating cast of teachers so we’ll see many if not all of the known heroes and heroines in the Zenescope Universe along with possibly meeting new ones it’s a great petri dish for setting up new stories and limited series with these teachers. Plus it’s nice to see where they fit in in the grand scheme of things, outside something like a company wide crossover and keeps them visible and readers able to say they want more of that character. Masumi for instance needs another solo adventure and seeing her here is great reminder of that.
All the drama that comes with teenagers and finding themselves while dealing with a PTSD type situation or that the being Violet freed and is still running loose playing games with their minds are laid out nicely in-between some nice characterization and setting the stage for what’s to come for these kids next.
This has become a new way to tell new stories rooted in the original Fairy Tales the next evolution of them if you will and under Pat’s guidance it seems that this series is rising back up to being among the company’s leader rivaling Robyn Hood in interest and intrigue.