Aftershock Comics 2021
Written by Mark Sable
Illustrated by Giorgio Pontrelli
Coloured by Pippa Bowland
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
The horrifying events in the Miskatonic Valley have torn apart retired detective Tom Malone and ex-FBI agent Miranda Keller. Miranda tries to escape a Deep One concentration camp and a traumatized Tom is obsessed with finding and freeing her. But soon they both start sharing dreams of Cthulhu, a monstrous entity in the South Pacific who will soon awaken and bring about the end of the world as we know it.
This is all too quietly a very strange and interesting little book. There are a myriad of reasons to like this issue, it’s oversized-see magazine sized, it actually stands on its own apart from the arc that came before it--though it’s much better if you’ve read it and it’s just delightfully told. How we see the bond between Tom and Miranda having grown to where it is now has been a thing of joy to see and as Tom knows what he knows seeing his concern and voice as loudly as we do makes me wish I had a partner, of any sort, that would care as much as he. It’s such a well crafted and executed story and such a delight to read.
I am very much 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 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 and this does a magnificent job in fleshing out their personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more and more of the story we’re drawn into this incredibly well.
I’m very much liking the way that this is being structured and how the layers within the story emerge, grow and evolve. I am also liking the way that the layers within the story open up new avenues to be explored. What is happening with Miranda is the biggest thread to follow and I do enjoy seeing Tom verbally spar with Hoover. These and more add so much nice depth, dimension and complexity to the story. 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.
I do wish we’d see the different species with tighter, cleaner linework to make them look more fearsome. As they stand it’s nicely done but they look more all-ages cute then scary for Cthulhu story. Regardless of my preferences, what we see has some really nice attention to detail attached to the characters and how this works to bring them to life is extremely nice to see. We see backgrounds utilised well throughout the book as they enhance and expand the moments as well as work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is handled extremely well. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a solid and talented eye for storytelling. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a great eye for how colour works.
I like the oversized magazine format for comics and how we see it utilised here. Nothing about this goes the way that I was expecting to see and I think Mark does a sensational job with that kind of misdirection. The ending took me by complete surprise as well and I have to say that I really appreciate that. With some strong, interesting writing and stellar characterisation alongside these interiors we see this story come to life so very well.