AWA Upshot Studios 2021
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated by C.P. Smith
Coloured by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Sal Cippriano
In the wake of the assassination of their leader, the Resistance is in disarray, disconnected from each other and hunted by authorities around the world – including an army of "reborns" recruited by the American government. To avert decimation at the hands of a fascistic government crackdown, the Resistance must discover the ace up their sleeve, and then the key to unlocking it.
The overall quality of the storytelling here is beyond exceptional. This story has so many different moving parts and with only a few issues left in this arc they are all starting to move in a converging pattern. What I really like about this is the fact that this is just closing in one the end of an arc and that another one will be hot on the heels. The way that this is being told so that we see one arc after another each one picking up where the last one left off allows for each arc to be self contained as an introductory point but as well as how for a segment in a much larger story.
I am such a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. How we see the character development through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter continue to bring out their personalities. This really makes them feel and seem like people we know and can relate to. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story it gets much more exciting and tension filled.
How we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen is magnificently rendered. It is within these layers where we see the majority of the characterisation and the twists & turns as well as the revelations. What this does is add a great depth, dimension and complexity to the story fleshing it out even further. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is impeccably achieved.
The interiors here are mindbogglingly brilliant! The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level & quality in the attention to detail throughout the book is extraordinary. How we see the backgrounds being utilised to expand and enhance the moments. They also do wonders working within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a master colourist at work.
There are a lot of things going on here and how we see each segment affect the next is exceptional to see. The cascade effect is something we just don’t see enough of and how each event and each set of characters is just as important to not only the story at that given moment but to the larger picture as well and it makes reading this that much more of a joy. This is as much of a straight up action/adventure story as it is a night time soap opera and one that requires the reader to actually do a fair bit of thinking. There’s no skimming this over; it takes a good hard read and possibly even more than one to catch all the subtlety one could miss on the first go round. With some damn fine writing and dynamic & intriguing characterisation that is brought to life through these utterly brilliant interiors really turn this into something completely and utterly extraordinary.