Issue five of this oft violent yet well crafted book from Black Mask Studios hits stores this week, as we catch up with Niko, who is miraculously alive after last issues events.
After being in a coma for the last couple of months, Niko awakes to find that things have worsened. the Koyam doesn’t exist anymore and the Eastern Rebels, commanded by a pair of sisters, Sakin and Yanka, have big plans for the group now that the man known as Clandestino, the man who cheated death, fights by their side.
Five books in and by now, you know what to expect. Writer, artist, colorist, letterer and page stapler Amancay Nahuelpan continues his meandering story. This issue feel almost like a number one book in that it is about re-grouping, re-starting both with a new rebel group and emotional anchor for Niko. It allows for a breather of sorts for Niko, to take in all that has gone on before. True, the things that Niko has lived through to this part have ramifications; there are also repercussions in the bad guy’s camp.
Amancay Nahuelpan’s writing works well through the pages of this issue. There is a lot of information to go through, which can lead to dialogue laden pages and he runs the risk of the story losing it’s pace. To his credit however, the change of pace is refreshing, allowing the reader to catch their breath. As with previous issues, there isn’t a great deal of surprises on offer in how Niko is assimilated into the new group other than which sister he will end up in bed with, although the desire to get back to full strength is probably the strongest part of the book. As for the main story is it pretty much as you were right up until it all gets a little Robocop 3.
Looking through this book, I have started to notice that Nahuelpan’s art has a less gritty style than previous issues. In fact, in places there seems to be George Perez vibe in play, especially when it comes to the framework of the main female characters. As I am not a huge Perez fan, this may seem to be damning statement, but Nahuelpan own style is strong enough to curb any negative connotation that his possible a artistic inspiration may cause. As good as the art is, I am a little confused as to why the aforementioned sisters go to the front line in their party wear when everyone else is in battle armour. That is a lot of flesh on show for a firefight! The coloring on this series has been top notch for the most part. Camp life and the war front are extremely well visualised with the command bunker, whilst lacking the same flair, does provide an air of utilitarian that you would expect.
For a series that initially surprised me, I am more than pleased to say that my surprise has turned in genuine enjoyment of a very well crafted book, that delivers strong characters through solid writing and consistently good art.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars23
Colors – 4.5 Stars
(W) Amancay Nahuelpan (A/CA) Amancay Nahuelpan