Image Comics 2018
Written by Skottie Young
Illustrated by Jorge Corona
Coloured by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Abel and the fox have wandered into a small-town carnival where they should be able to find the healer they seek. While they search, Fox teaches Abel that survival sometimes means bending the rules a bit.
Alright so the opening for this issue can give clowns a run for their money in the horrifically scary category. Not that travelling carnivals are supposed to be but in this world nothing is for certain and the fox gets to talk well why the heck not. I am not sure which is funnier though because one of the first things I thought of was Scooby-Doo, both the original run with the Funland Robot and later that Cyber-Chase film where they end up in the carnival. Yes I am a proud product of my generation so I guess now that I’ve thought about and it’s in writing that yes carnivals’ can be quite scary indeed. So back to the issue at hand, with creepy hawkers vying for attention and the boys looking for the Mystical Magdalena you just know that all manner of trouble is going to occur.
I wholeheartedly think that most folks underestimate this book. Skottie might be known for those baby hero covers but he’s gosh darn good writer as well and this shines the proverbial spotlight on that. The way the book is structured is extremely well done and the overall ebb & flow that is created through the story & plot development is pretty sensational. Plus reading this we also run the gauntlet of emotions from giggling through cringing and all the while getting some fine characterisation in the process. I am immensely enjoying getting to know these two characters and the potential of meeting these carnival folks has brought forth well yeah it makes me excited as a reader.
Well if there is one thing we do know is that the fox is willing to ditch Abel at the first sign of trouble only to reappear when danger has passed. Which he wouldn’t be in in the first place if it weren’t for the fox getting into it to begin with. However that being said seeing Abel run through the carnival being chased and showing some real initiative in trying to evade them well I am beginning to respect the kid a little more. There is something to be said that he’s started out as this snivelling brat and is becoming a lot more worldly and interesting.
Jorge and Jean-Francois are doing so charmingly delightful work on the interiors here. The imagination and creativity we see right off the bat is stunning! The way their vision is brought to life here is as gorgeous as it creepy which for me couldn’t be any better no matter who tried. The linework and how it’s manipulated through it’s varying weights to bring us this attention to detail is nicely done. Yes the trees look like they are out of an old children’s book but the composition, the lines in them like giant leaves is just yeah that. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off an amazing eye for storytelling. Being that I am a backgrounds advocate, okay fine fanatic, and see them like this here, it perfectly encompasses why I feel they are important. Oh the colour work. The gradation, the way light sources are utilised for shading and highlights is marvellous to see. The work also serves to help define the characters and more so the fox and his fur! I feel like each issue the work gets better and better and I am scared to see how good it can still get.
The antics here are great, almost predictable and yet sometimes still surprising. The writing is pretty near flawless as is the interior artwork. For me this should be one of the most talk about series of 2019!