ADVANCE Comic Book Review: Fearscape #1
I’m always up for something that will give me a chill, and just by name alone, Fearscape was one that quickly grabbed my attention. Well that, and I’m not one to turn down a recommendation that someone thinks will be up my alley. Honestly, those were true words, so I’m happy when someone is aware of my interests enough to push this in front of me. With that said, there comes some expectation when you tackle a book like this. If fear is in the name, you sure as hell want to experience that before you put the book down.
I liked that at the start of this issue, no time was wasted in setting the atmosphere for the story. That white page, stacked with blank panels, and containing the most engaging conversation from the narrating voice. Everything from there the same when at the same time we are in the brain of our main character who seems to drift between tones and perspectives. The mind of an author is an amazing thing when for some like Henry, every thought is as if unwilling to put the pen down. As if drowning in a literary prison of his own making. I would say that the self-awareness stood out more than anything else. Witty, dark, and full of so much narcissism that wouldn’t believe could be crammed into one individual.
The brilliance of Fearscape is creating the image of this wrong man who answers the call to adventure. Struggling artist almost felt like an understatement when seeing what rock bottom actually means for someone like Henry. Even delusional came off the same way, and I could not help but sympathize with this guy immediately. While the actual horrors took some time to build up to, we got enough of the kind which plagues the human mind. With that said, there certainly was not enough sympathy to overlook the reason why he is failed and delusional as an author. Getting into the mind of someone like him regardless was captivating. You end up loving to hate him because from Henry’s perspective, there’s nothing wrong with the kind of work that he does in contrast to what everyone else does. There definitely wasn’t anything wrong with his actions that could only be chalked up to that of a starving author. To Henry, he represents a form of storytelling that is unique, while everyone else is just a sheep in wolves clothing. The worst part? Nothing about that is abnormal in our world.
So much about the writing for this series is refreshing. Every sentence flowed into the next, and I would dare say it was poetic. That is when you were not attacked with so much pettiness and disdain by our main character towards those who are his betters. When engaging The Muse, I felt like Henry’s dialogue was at his best. When he taps into that romantic state of mind, he gets taken away by his own words.
I was overly impressed by the work of Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Deron Bennet as a whole. I had little fear about the work that Mutti could deliver for Fearscape. In fact she was the most familiar of the creative team to me which I enjoyed when first exposed to this series. Aside from the atmosphere I spoke of that was set through the initial white page, it was what came after which also set the scenes to follow. The dreary color choice, the faded overlay, the time of day that this was set in, all of these things held strong contribution to the mood we needed to feel from Henry. When it came to appearance, they nailed his look. Unkept hair, a tired face, almost emotionless. Even when he didn’t look down on his luck, he looked like someone who didn’t have a care in the world for anything that didn’t benefit him. It helped even to have those key moments where you couldn’t see his eyes at all. A very good placement of shadows, that even carried over into our exposure to the Fearscape. That place lived up to its name from the cavernous plains, to the barren forests, it looked like a place that needed to be saved. The cold colors in particular stood out there with more of a focus on purple tones than the usual blues. Deron Bennet was someone who should be recognized because the placing of the text, as well as the distinction to the different voices was integral to our overall engagement through both story and artwork. That words could also be used to cover an image was new to me and refreshing considering the perspective this story was told from.
What is destiny? If you thought this was going to be one of those stories, Henry Henry laughs in the face of that expectation. Fearscape #1 is a story of great opportunity given to the least deserving. One of the best debuts I’ve seen this year. How does a man like Henry play hero to a place like Fearscape? Is there truly weight to the words of a plagiarist? As the reader, you are almost left fearing for the wrong reasons, and that is a feeling we aren’t privileged enough to experience from other stories of the like.