REVIEW: Reyn #4

Story: Kel Symons
Art: Nate Stockman
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Paul Little
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 15, 2015

The formula for Reyn is not  extremely complicated; a little fantasy, a little comedy, a little secrecy. Mix all of that together and throw in a liberal amount of action and non-traditional characters, and you’ve got the recipe for an exciting adventure book.

The Land of Fate has been governed for generations by the Venn, an opportunistic race of intelligent salamanders. They’ve ruled the land via proxy, supplying Fate’s human rulers with “magical” tools and information that has, of course, also managed to keep the Venn draped in luxury and comfort.

That’s all in jeopardy now that Reyn, a mentally disturbed Warden – the member of a race of warriors thought long dead – made an unexpected re-appearance and began raising all sorts of hell. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that the Venn have taken an interest in the man who could potentially put and end to their control of Fate and  have taken steps to eliminate the threat.

Symons is doing a heckuva job crafting a fantasy/adventure story that’s entertaining without being brainless. We continue to learn a little more about Reyn and his new-found compatriots this issue, but we also get a better view of just how the Venn have managed to maintain such a firm grip on the land for so long. It’s a twist in the tale that suggests that magic isn’t always what it first appears to be, especially to those not sufficiently versed in science.

You probably saw that coming though, right? It’s not that the idea of advanced tech being mistaken for sorcery is new, quite the contrary. Even the way it’s presented in the book suggests that the people of Fate aren’t and haven’t always been as quasi-Luddite as they appear, and that at some point in their history reason and logic played a greater role in their everyday lives. Discovering just how much of this civilization’s fabric is  composed of actual magic and just which components are the result of scientific, but forgotten, achievements, or if there’s even a difference, adds to the sense of wonder in the book.

When I started reading Reyn, I wasn’t all that impressed with the artwork; four issues in and I’ve got to say, though, that it’s beginning to grow on me quite a bit. There’s a softness to the character designs that contrasts not only with the reality of the story, but with the setting of it as well. Fate is a harsh place, rustic at times and at others something bordering on Elizabethan; a cold and distant aristocratic society with clearly, if unjustly, stratified groups of people.

Now that I’ve read a few issues, the rounded faces of the characters seem to make things more enjoyable, perhaps a bit more believable; as believable as anything can be in a fantasy book, I suppose. Their buoyancy, their generally optimistic demeanor, along with a subtle but very definite hardiness, lends credence to the idea that maybe the quest that’s shaping up here has more to sustain it than just hope.

By: A.C.

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