Written by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl
Art by, Karl Kerschl/MSASSYK
Letters by, Aditya Bidikar
This is the final issue of the initial story arc. Root, the Captain of the Queen’s Royal Guard, Pring, from Moro, and Queen Olwyn rush to escape Moro with the Queen badly injured. Pring accompanies Root and Queen Olwyn to the edge of a river area before parting ways. Root takes the queen as far as she can before they are forced to stop. They see visions of creatures coming from the woods in all directions and Queen Olwyn has a vision of a relative she thought she’d lost and struggled with the loss of the future she thinks they will never see, Isola.
The visual experience of this book captured me in the way it created depth with colors and increased the intrigue with the depictions of the characters. The mystic representation of strange creatures, mixed with the realism of painful emotions on the protagonist’s faces is amazing. A credit to the art team for provoking empathy in the reader by making the representations of fantasy characters so rich with emotion, mystery, and courage. While the story and exposition provide the technical information that pushes the plot, it’s the art that really makes this story stand apart from most.
The entertainment value is in the strong bond between Root and Olwyn. Root’s loyalty, sacrifice, and courage are reciprocated by Olwyn in that she reassures Root that she did all she could to achieve the goal of reaching Isola, despite the present situation. It’s an emotional climax that I will not spoil in this review; however, the weight of the dialogue is felt by the reader: “Root..I’m scared.” As simple as this phrase is, it’s the noble and courageous representation of the Queen throughout the first five books that give this phrase weight in this issue. A subtle change in colors provides information about the status of the main characters, a nice way to provide important information, without being expository, -heavy or didactic.
I highly recommend this issue to readers who like fantasy stories with great character work and beautiful art. The story is a slow-burn, but the payoff is worth the wait. A cliffhanger at the end of the story gives the reader hope that there is much more meat on the bone and with this creative team I am confident that they will not disappoint the readers. Overall = 9.5