Ablaze Publishing 2021
Story by Leiji Matsumoto & Jérȏme Alquié
Illustrated by Jérôme Alquié
Lettered by Dezi Sienty
The fate of Earth hangs perilously in the balance of the ultimate clash between the Arcadia and the Mazon sisters Talika has resurrected! A confrontation so critical, Harlock finds himself making deals with enemies and asking for help from old friends and new. If Harlock and his crew are unable to stop these elemental beings, the planet will be uninhabitable to humans and Mazon alike!
I know this is the end of the arc but this has introduced me to Captain Harlock and now I don’t know what I’ll do if this doesn’t come back with a new arc soon. I mean I've become quite attached to these characters, sought out the animated film and I am kind of obsessed. That this feels like an anime film and it’s just got all the right notes of friendship, love, anger and desperation to keep the emotional roller coaster moving along full steam ahead is something that we just don’t see happen at this level every day. While this is a trade length story it doesn’t feel as if it were written to fit a trade because the way everything plays out feels like this is the natural length and course that the story takes and I appreciate that a lot.
I really like 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 are exceptionally well rendered. The character development we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job with their ever changing and evolving personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story the more of these characters and this universe we want to see.
I am very much a fan of the way that this is being structured and how we see the layers within the story continuing to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking the way that we see the layers opening up new avenues to be explored. Whether or not these avenues get explored is not relevant because they all add this great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. The way that everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
The interiors really really are smashing. I hate to assume so I'm going to guess that this is computer generated and it’s beautifully translated to the page. It is probably why this reminds me so much of the animated feature film. The essence of that is captured here sensationally well and how we see the composition within the panels bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is amazingly well rendered. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a stellar understanding of how colour works.
This has been one of the best unexpected treats that I have come across in a long time. It’s got a great solid story that engages the reader. It gets you invested in the story and its characters beautifully. It also has some gorgeous examples of how much the artform has changed and evolved to create such simplistic beauty.