I have mixed feelings about this book. Ryan Cady’s writing is powerful and haunting. The tone he establishes throughout the book is consistently creepy and keeps you from ever feeling truly comfortable and instead a bit anxious. His dialogue is excellent. With very few panels, he creates believable characters and a technically credible narrative of Deva Karrel’s master plan to save the lives of her constituents at what could be a terrible cost. There is a certain maturity and professionalism to his work that speaks to a commitment to his craft. Although I don’t know his other work, I think he would migrate naturally into novels or screenplays . . . very, very sharp stuff.
Andrea Mutti’s artwork is technically very adept, with excellent perspective, great use of different camera angles, and a hand-drawn realism and use of hard shadows that is hard to find these days. This is all done in a theme consistent with the writing that complements the tone and look of the book. Mutti shows excellent competence in some very tough-to-draw shots that require a true dedication to vision and detail.
However, I had some issues with the book that ultimately put me off a bit. The final confrontation between Deva and the Entity, for me, was a bit drawn out and - for lack of better description – just too darn wordy. It's like they were trying to kill each other with words. It felt a bit heavy handed considering the circumstances. Mutti’s artwork was technically excellent, but, for me, was missing a bit of energy. I also think were some opportunities in the book to showcase the artist’s chops, and we didn’t get to see that. For example, we see a series of little long shots of the Orpheus that are drawn with great skill. I would love to have seen a bigger splash page for one of these images to really let Mutti’s ability take over the page.
I am sort of torn on this one. I am of the opinion that even comic books in a tightly knit narrative sequence should be able to stand on their own, and I am not convinced this book does that. Even with the benefit of the background story, I still think the plot got a little slow at the worst possible moment. I would say as a piece of writing, in terms of dialogue and tone, it is exemplary. In terms of pacing and plot, I can’t say was in love with it. To some degree, I would say the same for the art. I really admired the craftsmanship and the use of brush strokes, cross hatching, and extremely effective black on black; however, I think this artist is capable of more and I don’t think the book reflected that. So, I will close by saying the book has great technical merit, but it did not come together for me as a whole.
Creative Team: Ryan Cady (Writer), Andrea Mutti (Artist)
Publisher: Image Comics
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