Top Cow Productions/Image Comics 2021
Written by Patrick Meaney & Mohsen Ashraf
Illustrated by Jeff Edwards
Coloured by John Kalisz
When a fast-living EMT is entrusted with the power to sense and siphon pain from others, Sylas is presented with a new purpose: to ease the misery of those around him. But the more he uses this gift, the more it curses him with carrying the burdens of others’ pain. And it soon attracts the attention of mysterious forces who covet the power for themselves, forcing Sylas to decide whether he will continue his mission or revert to his old ways.
There is a lot of information presented to the reader in this introductory issue. I get it, they want to touch upon a number of different avenues to be explored as the story arc continues. So while I think there’s a tad too much going on and the transitions suffer a bit, they feel rushed, however it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the issue in the slightest. I really like the idea behind this book and once we see the history of what Sylas was given it upped the interest and intrigue factors beautifully.
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 is presented extremely well. The character development we see through the dialogue, the character interaction, the narration as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter continues to flesh them out nicely. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story, this world and its characters we’re entranced with the possibilities of what could be.
I am enjoying the way that we see this structured, yes there are some transition issues but on the whole what we see is nice. How the layers within the story continue to emerge and grow as the avenues open up for exploration hold untold promise. I like how these avenues contain all bits that add extra depth, dimension and complexity to the story. The backstory is great and I really appreciate how we see the history here it really lights up the imagination and engages the reader. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is achieved nicely.
The interiors here are really, really nice to see. The linework is clean, crisp and strong and how the varying weights and techniques are being utilised to create the detail work that we see is extremely well rendered. The creativity and imagination is fabulous and there are moments where the imagery is intense and pops perfectly. The backgrounds that we see are fantastic and how they enhance the moments as well as work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the book is marvellous. 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 colour work is brilliantly rendered. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows such a brilliant eye for how to maximise the affect colour has. The flames and the purples by the way are beyond what I was expecting and a lot of moments are utilised as such to create those wow factor moments.
I love finding a book that is different and unique in not only its approach but in its subject matter. The heavy burden of responsibility that comes with this ability isn’t for someone like Sylas who has trouble with his own emotions or communicating with a loved one no matter how much he wishes it were so. I like that we see the toll we’re seeing this take on him already and as he inadvertently learns how to release his power he may learn to balance his life but with a cliffhanger ending we’ll see what happens next.