Dark Horse Comics 2016
Story by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Written by David Lapham
Penciled by Edgar Salazar
Inked by Keith Champagne
Coloured by Dan Jackson
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Now a champion in the ancient arenas of Rome, Mr. Quinlan finds himself up against the fiercest of all of the gladiators. But his chances of survival outside the arena are even worse, as the Master closes in on Mr. Quinlan after years of searching!
As things start to heat up for Quinlin we begin to see how he was able to survive in these ancient times. This was an age before science when those who were born with physical oddities were captured and placed in the arena to fight. I love what David and Edgar bring to this issue in that regard. Seeing those who fought alongside him as his friends in the arena who like himself were physically unlike others in Rome was a real treat. Plus mysticism and creatures that have been thought myth still prevail throughout legend make it a time he doesn’t have to hide in the shadows and this is the perfect era for him to learn the skills he needs to be the hunter he is today.
For fleshing out the story of his origin there wasn’t a better choice than David here. He’s so good at writing stories about those things that go bump in the night and infusing them with the characterisation that makes them human. He’s also rather adept at creating pace in the story so that so much may happen in such a short amount of time without the reader feeling cheated or rushed along. The way the fight scenes are portrayed here and the respect of those who fight in the arena that he earns really does say a lot about the character of Quinlin.
Edgar lays down the groundwork here that’s very nicely finished by Keith and Dan. From the garb and the shining of the armour to the men and their physiques that fight culminating in how the action is brought to life they do a magnificent job. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and even the backgrounds are used so effectively to bring us to this place and time. Then there’s the way the Master is shown and his minions who are of him to control and the creativity and imagination in how stunningly horrific they are showcased is thrilling.
Leave it these folks to take something that is so based upon classic horror and create something else entirely from it. Yes there are moments that are meant to chill the reader but overall it’s the story of a man trying to find his place in the world. A purpose and a sense of self and it’s this story that takes center stage here. Steeped in the darkest reaches of horror and brought to the light in ways that thrill and awe David has taken Mister Quinlan and made him into something so much more than we’ve yet seen. The scary part is he’s not done yet.
A groundbreaking addition to the novels and the television series that brings the franchise to a new place, giving it humanity.