Zenescope Entertainment 2021
Written by Brian Hawkins
Illustrated by Vicente Cifuentes
Coloured by Robby Brevard
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios
Run ins with vampires, monsters, and all types of nightly creatures, are almost as natural as breathing to the famed vampire-hunter, Liesel Van Helsing. But something wicked is going after children in the five boroughs, and as Liesel’s personal life and nightly adventures are about converge, she is soon to find out why centuries of children have feared the snatcher of souls, Black Annis!
This issue is a double edged sword for me, and that’s only because I want Liesel to get back together with Hades but she’s just so gosh darn cute with Rick. The way that Brian is able to bring them to life as a couple is just perfectly done and you can tell that they are at a certain stage of their relationship. Though not at the point where she’s told him who she is and what she does, that is going to be one hell of a conversation to see. Meanwhile it’s almost a shame that when she meets his nephew she’s drawn into a situation that requires her unique skill set.
I am enjoying the way that this is being told. How we see the story & plot development through watching the sequence of events unfold alongside the reader learning information and how that constantly moves things forward is extremely well done. The character development is phenomenal and to see how the dialogue along with seeing them act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter keep the characterisation ever changing and evolving. The pacing that we see s superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story along with its twists & turns it creates this perfect storm for Liesel to get even closer to Rick and Max.
How this is being structured so that we see the layers within the story emerge and grow along with previous strands from other stories is exceptionally well rendered. That we see potential for new enemies and for old ones to resurface is what makes reading her adventures so entertaining. Then there is how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow which is so utterly delightful. The entire flow of the book from start to finish is fantastic and it’s nice to see the larger page count even if it’s six to eight extra pages.
Right off the bat, see opening to the first page, we see the kind of work that Vicente and Robby are doing here is going to knock your socks off. The linework that we see is so completely exquisitely laid down and how the varying weights and techniques that we see being utilised to create this level and quality of detail work is astounding. Faces alone are brilliantly done and the expressions and body language help tweak the characterisation beautifully. Personally I’d like to see more backgrounds being utilised, i’m not a fan of the open or coloured work behind a figure, because when we do see them they not only enhance the moments but they provide us with some killer depth perception, sense of scale and that 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 magnificent eye for storytelling.
The colour work that we see is absolutely divine! How the various hues and tones within the colours are being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is exceptional. That we can see how colour is utilised to create extra depth and dimension, facial structure or musculature, shows this fabulous understanding of how colour can work to its fullest degree.
Liesel is the epitome of why Zenescope is so successful right now with their superhero style storytelling. With an outfit as provocative as Zatanna’s and a skill set to rival Batgirl she’s this wicked awesome woman of strong character and beliefs that finds her way into your bones and doesn’t leave.