Shadowline/Image Comics 2019
Written by David Hine & Brian Haberlin
Illustrated by Brian Haberlin
Coloured by Gierrod Van Dyke
Lettered by Francis Takenaga
Liza’s Sphere of Power is opening up rifts between our reality and the dark dimensions that lie beyond. Karuman, the ancient leader of The Shangen, gives Mavin an ultimatum that forces her to lead The Marked in an ill-fated attack on Shadowgate.
Oh these guys know how to work together and they know how to create some stunning stories and this one is amazing. With each outing they manage to get better and better and at a certain point you have wonder if there is a ceiling to reach or plateau to reach. What I am really impressed by here is the fact that from the get-go I have been misled in the best of ways. I would have thought that this book would spotlight the Marked coven and while we're getting there seeing what Liza is up to and the entire revelations with that well Halleloo! (Shangela's contribution Halleloo! is the best thing she ever did).
I love the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through the sequence of events unfolding as well as how the reader learns information is laid down spectacularly. The way that we see this unfold is amazing to me and the fact that I am continually surprised by what I see only serves to heighten the experience. The character development is stellar and to see how Liza gets with all this power and the phrase “absolute power, corrupts absolutely” has never been said more accurately. All around though I really like getting the feel for who these characters are. The pacing is great and as it takes us on this journey through the pages it helps create this ebb & flow that pulls you like a black hole and you don't want to leave.
I think the fact that the kook, Simon, has kept isolated and out of the loop after bringing Liza into the fold and his development has been a highlight for me thus far. Now seeing him and Benis together and what they can do. Here's hoping that we get to see more of Simon and that he becomes a prominent player in this saga. With the continually evolving story here though nothing is set in stone so who knows what will happen to any of them at any given moment. Again another reason to love this book.
The interiors here are utterly fabulous! The linework is exquisite and how the varying weights are utilised to bring out this quality and level of attention to detail blows my mind. I mean seriously this is top of the line talent here that you wish you saw in every book you read. There are some truly magnificent moments like when we see the Machtsphäre or Simon's shirt that stand way out from the crowd. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a stupendous eye for storytelling. The utilisation of the backgrounds and how they work in the composition of the panels as they bring depth perception, scale and this beautiful sense of size and scope. The colour work is simply divine and how the various hues and tones and how they create shading, highlights and shadows, particularly when it's utilised to show highlight the facial features. This is some truly amazing work.
This book just gets more and more impressive with each issue and the way that new characters are introduced and established ones continue to grow and evolve in some spectacular ways. That they manage to keep on my toes and though I know to expect the unexpected I am still surprised delights the hell out of me.