The Lion Forge 2019
By Palle Schmidt
Lettered by Sean Konot
Assembly & Design by Andworld Design
A crime story with a twist. The brutal slaying of two police officers guarding a material witness pins detectives Alphonse and Maynard against their toughest adversary yet. But as they get further into their investigation, they uncover a leak inside the police department known only as "Stiletto." What appears to be a gritty police drama takes unpredictable turns as our heroes race against the clock to solve this double homicide and flush out the mole who puts them all at risk to the criminal underworld.
I was introduced to Palle’s work with Thomas Alsop and that made me an immediate fan of his work. So that Lion Forge is able to bring this story to an American audience is magnificent, it also made it one I couldn't wait to read! This issue is oversized and glorious to me, the way Palle is able to both write and illustrate this makes me admire even more. Anyone who can do it is someone we should all have admiration for and of course it also means that everything we see on the page is exactly as it’s intended to be so we get the most out of the reading experience.
I like the way that this is structured. The opening is incredible in how it draws you in and doesn’t let you know the whole story but it is explosive. In this opening there are a lot “A” type personalities happening all at once and it’s kind of like some steroid gangster stuff which not too surprisingly makes me want to know more. Actually the entire book is filled with some amazing characterisation some of which comes from some very unexpected moments. Another thing about this issue that I can say is that when I got to the last page and realised what was going on, I had my suspicions but.., that I had pretty much missed majority of the clues that were laid out for us.
This really truly is an exceptional story people. You think you know your crime drama’s well think again. The entire time I was reading this I was caught up in the story in a way that I found so interesting and I was so intent of thinking this out differently that I missed a lot of the clues as to what was happening in these pages. I didn’t misread them or anything but sometimes when you this engrossed that you overlook what’s staring you in the face. It has been a long time since someone has been able to do this to me and I have to doth my cap.
The interiors here are absolutely gorgeous. There is something about this that feels like it combines linework and with a wash painting feel to it. It keeps feeling like a modern day noir style and then there highlights of colour here and there that just pop and take you by surprise. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off Palle’s superb eye for storytelling. Backgrounds are utilised judiciously and it’s effective and there’s something about how constructs the page that is warm and inviting and just pulls you into the book beautifully.
Lion Forge really is home to some of the best storytelling that I have read. They aren’t afraid to showcase European creators whether through their Magnetic Press line or through the main line of books. I really do encourage you to give this one a go and see what else is out there, expand your horizons and enjoy something spectacularly and extraordinarily well told. The writing is sensational as is the interior artwork, I can promise you will not be disappointed with this book.