Zenescope Entertainment 2019
Written by Ralph Tedesco
Illustrated by Oliver Borges
Coloured by Leonardo Paciarotti
Lettered by Carlos M. Mangual
Lukas re-enters the Ether to hunt down Marna, the woman who betrayed him at Cain's compound. But when he finds her, Lukas realises he's no match for her now and stares certain death in the face. Meanwhile the creepy masked killer takes yet another victim, but begins to explore more disturbing ways of murdering his captors. Something is very wrong inside the Ether, and soon it may be too late to put a stop to the masked killer's sadistic motives.
Oh I am enjoying the heck out of this one. I love the concept of this story as it is one that when taken in context is the next generation of horror. I am surprised that we haven't seen films based on this yet as they jumped aboard the social media train and create supernatural and slasher films from it. Ralph really does a nice job in how he delves into this and when Jordan and Craig ambush one of the games creators. Actually the seminar they attended was as slimy as seeing any self-help guru, make money by, or Joel Osteen, as that sales pitch was delivered. I do like though how we see that play out and with Oliver's help we got a lot of clues as the true safety of the game in those reactions.
I think the way this is being told is perfectly done. The story & plot development through the way we see the sequence of events unfold and how the reader learns information is so well defined and extolled. The character development is really good and there's something about the behaviour inside the game and out that both meshes and is so different. After all inside the game you can be whomever you wish and usually that entails being the kind of man, or woman, you aren't in real life. When I factor in the pacing here we see how the twists and turns affect how the story moves forward which creates this ebb & flow to the book that makes even more interesting.
I am very much enjoying how the tension builds here as well. Lukas after swearing off Ether re-enters the game because his ego wouldn't let him give it up without getting revenge. Only he encounters the mysterious figure who's been changing the rules of the game. Now either he's a real player in the game or he's some kind of virus that's been introduced by one of the games creators. After all what we see him, presumably, doing in this issue alone makes me think the latter and this character gained sentience and is now seeking to know what it feels like to be human. Again this all conjecture and me playing at being a detective based the evidence provided.
Oliver and his linework here is exquisitely rendered here. The linework is amazing to see and how the varying weights are utilised to bring out the attention to detail here is extraordinary. The creativity and imagination we see in bringing the interiors of the game to life is beautifully done and it creates that world and makes you wish to be a part of it. The way we see backgrounds utilised and how they aid in the composition inside the panels showing depth perception, scale and bring this size and scope to the book is stunning. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a strong and talented eye for storytelling. The colour work is stupendous to see. The way the gradation of colours to show that bleeding in Marna's hair is sensational. The way that we see a base colour and then the various hues and tones within it utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadows is masterfully done.
This is the what we want to see as the story is extremely current and relevant to today's world it is also forward thinking and progressive. There's something inherently fun and interesting to take this kind of science fiction/possible reality and twist the bright colours and showcase something extremely dark and twisted.