Saturday, May 12, 2018

Isola #2 Review


Written by: Brenden Fletcher / Karl Kerschl 
Art by: Karl Kerschl
Colors by: Msassyk
Letters by: Aditya Bidikar
Published by: Image
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

The last issue of Isola was a very interesting installment. The first part of the book had very little dialogue, letting the book's fantastic artwork conduct the process of unraveling a mysterious tale.  By the end of that issue, we had gleaned that the Queen of Maar was suffering under the effects of an evil spell and assuming the shape of a Tiger while being stewarded by Captain Rook. Let's see how the pairing got on in this second installment. 

This issue is much more dense in terms of a detailed narrative and I actually think that the rich artwork has been dialed up a couple of notches too. The issue opens with hunting clans closing in, and Captain Rook decides to leads the Queen to the outskirts of a city in ruins on a desperate mission to resupply. In the city she finds a truly detestable figure from her past, a sordid blackmailer, and the exchanges between the two are truly laced with venom, as is the subsequent action. 

Again in this issue, even though there is a much more detailed level of dialogue and narrative, much of the action and story is dealt with through the art. The Queen, in tiger form and unable to talk, becomes even more intriguing due to her regal silence. The form of the tiger is evocative and stately, and allows the perilous circumstances to be reflected in a kind of quiet desperation in the eyes of the character. The art also splits into almost metaphysical shards at times as the real world action appears to be commented on by bright pink panels contrasted against the blue of reality. 

Much has been made of the Studio Ghibli and the Miyazaki elements in the art within this book. I'm not so sure. For me, the most accurate way to describe the art in this book is to liken it to the later works of 1990s Renaissance era Disney, and its contemporary equivalents. Think Pochahontas, Mulan, Dreamworks SKG's Prince of Egypt, or the Don Bluth and Gary Goldman work for Fox with Anastasia. This issue really firms up that vibe for me in terms of the actual style of the art. The Msassyk colors then add a depth and richness to this book, that propels it well beyond the visuals of even those cinematic likenesses listed above. 

Bits and Pieces

Issue 1 was an intriguing read, almost something of a curiosity. This issue though is almost the true commencement of the series after the prologue of the last issue. This time we delve deeper into the world of Isola and the signals are that this is going to be a fully realized and complex journey that we are embarking upon. Special mention should be made of the depiction of the ruined city in this issue which was truly remarkable. 


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