DC Black Label 2019
Written by Jeff Lemire
Pencilled by Denys Cowan
Inked by Bill Sienkiewicz
Coloured by Chris Sotomayor
Lettered by Willie Schubert
In modern-day Hub City, Vic Sage died. And then he woke up. In Hub City...in the 1800s! The legend of the Man with No Face rides across the Old West, discovering a shocking connection running through history all the way to the day he died...and pointing to more carnage yet to come!
How many times has Vic Sage died? When he did and passed the mantle on to Renee Montoya I was more than okay with that. It felt natural and the right thing to have happen and now it would appear that Vic is alive again and yet Renee is also the Question, see Event Leviathan. This is the part of comics that makes my head hurt. However, that being said I love Vic Sage and his time at Quality with the Blue Beetle and the rest will forever hold a place in my heart.
This is a crazy good story and what really impresses me here is the fact that Vic isn't necessarily time travelling as we know it but he's sleeping and experiencing the past in a way that isn't a dream but reality so how can this be? I don't know and in all honesty it doesn't matter because this is comics and the story is being mesmerising, intriguing and mystifying in ways that engages the readers' mind. Jeff is great at getting inside the readers' head and getting them to explore like they are inside the story themselves. That is what separates the good writers from the great ones.
I love the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfolds and how the reader learns information is laid down masterfully. Seriously the way that we as readers' work our way through the pages and not having and frame of reference is brilliantly handled and keeps us on the edge of our seats craving more. The character development is truly phenomenal and the way that we see see who they are through how they act and react to circumstances and situations. The pacing is perfect and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns really grabs the readers' attention. All of these elements work together to create the books ebb & flow and showcases the way the book is structured.
Oh the interiors here, sigh. The guys really haven't lost anything because the work we see is so recognisable and it's just stunningly gorgeous. The linework we see, the techniques that are utilised and how the varying weights all bring out this quality and level of attention to detail. The work here is so mindbogglingly brilliantly rendered and it captures and evokes these feelings and emotions that heighten the tension and fear of the unknown as it takes us through the pages. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a masters eye for storytelling. The way backgrounds are utilised and how they work within the composition inside the panels bring us this depth perception, scale and overall sense of size and scope to the book. The colour work is sensational! The way that we see hues and tones within the colours utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is beyond any and all expectations. The work really captures so much and Chris does something I have never seen of felt before through it.
This is the kind of storytelling that made DC the unparalleled company of the 70's and 80's. It is also the kind of storytelling that could bring them back to dominance in the industry, it's just that damn good.