Oni Press 2016
By Ted Naifeh
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
Emerane’s sole purpose for joining the others on their fool’s quest was to get enough money to buy her brother, Claude, out of debtor’s prison. Claude’s been there since he was nine years old, because every year the price to buy him out doubles. Though the heist turned out to be a bust, Emerane temporarily joined forces with The Furie and was rewarded handsomely for her efforts—handsomely enough to finally buy her brother back. But Claude is no longer at the debtor’s prison, and those who run it can’t tell her where he went or why he left. Meanwhile, Umber’s parliament has come under attack from none other than the cult of Uhlume itself!
With the group having gone their own way it seems nothing is as they left them. Emerane’s brother wasn’t in prison and the Magus found his home up in flames and being hunted. I like the way that Ted is weaving this tale so that as we see what the characters have to face after their initial adventure we see how they’ve become inextricably linked. Sometimes it can feel a bit forced or trite but we see them all having such difficulties in their everyday lives and it all seems to go back to that adventure and what they’ve learned so bringing them all back together feels not only natural but right.
So we knew we’d be seeing the bard again, after all he really did bring this group together and set them up to take a fall so he could do his thing, I just thought it would be under different circumstances. Still his characterisation remains as ambiguous as his intentions and while I really want to dislike him he’s super intriguing. He’s kind of like Fizban in that he’s maddeningly oblique and yet terribly essential and mysterious.
Ted’s work on the interiors is wonderfully done. The way he utilises the page layouts through angles and perspective really captures the moments the right way. I mean that he’s so talented he’s writing and drawing this it’s no wonder that everything we see is exactly what’s intended. There’s also some great use of ambiguity to the work that leaves things open to reader interpretation that’s extremely well done as it engages the reader more fully.
So now that the next arc is underway and our mysterious Bard is back and once again acting like the group’s leader promising the people things he may not really be able to deliver or can he? With the Cult of Uhlume on the move the citizens and our intrepid heroes are going to have pull a rabbit out their collective hat to get this one taken care of. Still this really is one of the best stories from a structure and execution standpoint that i’m reading right now.
With nonstop characterisation and action this series continues to thrill readers and sets a new standard in comics you could role play!