The third issue of this horror/romance story sees the Lady Bertram and her maid face more dangers as their powers and their use of them, becomes more dominant, despite the attempts to use them with good intentions. In addition, there is a new enemy to contend with in the form of the Countess Bertram, with a world view that is far removed from the cozy love that Lady Bertram and Mariah enjoy.
Good intentions aside, it seems that the two lovers go through different transformation, giving way to different strengths, which sees a child rescued from a workhouse and an butcher-for-a-doctor receive a comeuppance. Through it all, the love between the couple remains strong, regardless of the impacts the transformations seem to have.
Marguerite Bennett treads a difficult path as the series moves away from the shock element and settles into a holding pattern of sorts giving this issue its less colourful feel, in context, than previous issues. As the reader becomes comfortable in the lives of the love-struck transforming duo, the focus moves away from the more explicit images and to a more reflective relationship. Bennett shows her strength here, perhaps recognizing, with the change in tone for the lovers, how relationships change from the heady days of first love into the comfort of a long-term relationship. The dialogue is on par with previous issues, showing the horror and love in equal measures in the various environments and situations the pair find themselves in.
Whilst the art may not feature the explicit side of their relationship, there is a strong horror element. Ariela Kristantina continues to impress with her art. I am not sure what I can say, that I haven’t said before about how great this book looks. Everything works brilliantly; the line work, the panel layout, the pacing. Moving into a more gore filled issue doesn’t detract at all and in fact, in a similar way to Bennett, the change of pace shows how adaptable Kristantina actually is. Colorist Bryan Valenza provides the painted look that has come to be part of the signature of this series, although, he may need to replace his stash of red after a particularly blood spattered part of the book. I don’t normally mention the letterer; like many others taking their work for granted, but I feel that A Larger World should get a names check for the variety of styles used throughout the issue which helps set the tone for some of the conversations and confrontations.
All in all, another fantastic issue from all concerned, proving that After [the] Shocks, the strength of the book is the story.