AWA Upshot Studios 2021
Written by Victor Gischler
Illustrated by Niko Walter
Coloured by Snakebite Cortez
Lettered by Andworld Design
A weekend getaway on a resort planet goes south when four friends run afoul of the planet's working class. Stranded in the wilderness of a strange planet, surrounded by danger on all sides and relentlessly pursued by vengeful locals, they must test their bonds of friendship in order to survive.
Well Victor certainly sent me for a loop with this issue. I mean it starts off beautifully with these folks in search of the missing group of friends. By the time we get to the last page what Victor puts us through is a real tour de farce and it just takes the reader by complete and total surprise. That’s as much as i’m giving you, so you’ll have to read the book to find out what exactly I am referring to but suffice it to say it damn near changes how you view the story in its entirety. The locals who have been chasing the group have a very definite Deliverance feel to them and it’s both spot on and absolutely terrifying at the same time.
I am rather enjoying 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 extremely well. Now that we see the rescue party coming to their aid it feels like a race against time between them finding the guys or the locals actually finding a way to finish them off. The adrenaline pumping conclusion is off the hook. The character development is amazing and I have to admire Vince for not throwing Duncan out of the raft but finding a way to finally verbalise what he’s been feeling and thinking. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns and getting your adrenaline pumping, we see how the tension that’s been built up starts to boil over is phenomenal.
How we see this being structured and with the layers within the story weaving their way to the end and beyond is some stellar writing. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward showcases Victors skill, talent and creativity when it comes to his craft.
The interiors here are absolutely great! The people, their faces and facial expressions not to mention the body language really helps further the characterisation beautifully. The linework we see through its varying weights and techniques raises the quality and level within the detail work to some new heights. The backgrounds we see utilised are amazing in their quality as well and the rock formations and how we see the grain within the stone is mindbogglingly brilliant to behold. The clm position within the panels not only showcase the talent but they also bing us this fabulous depth perception, sense of scale and that 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 shows a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is bloody brilliant stuff! How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work blows me away. The creativity and imagination we see, like that alligator fish or the natives, really takes this to a whole new twisted place that we cannot pull ourselves away from.
This might be the end of this arc but there is room for more if the ending is any indication. After all Vince is home and with everything that’s happened his PTSD is off to the races and shows no signs of slowing down. This is a brilliantly written and illustrated story of how far a man is willing to go when he’s been wronged as well as surviving the madness that comes at you. AWA Upshot indeed has some of the best and brightest creative minds working today and it’s books like this that showcase that.