Issue 4 of the psychic horror story from AfterShock comics successfully manages to propel the story forward, whilst keeping the Big Bad in reserve.
On the way to talk to Mr Snuff, Ray Pilgrim has what can only be described as an “Obi-Wan” moment. The importance of which could be that his previously waning powers are on the way back. Along for the ride, is his daughter and erstwhile sidekick, Toni, who displays a kind of nonchalance when faced with the horrors that await her. Where the issue really works is in the conversation parts. Here, creator / writer David Hine starts to unravel part of the conspiracy in a more natural way than through exposition. The characters involved react and take part, each having their say and their own point of view.
Hine’s work with pacing and dialogue is perfect. I was beginning to worry about setup issues leading into setup issues. However, I should have had more faith. As the issue progresses, I found myself caught up in the goings on rather than think about the impacts to the main story. As such, it was only after reflecting that I realized, that despite the lack of the dark spirits that haunt Pilgrim, Hine had given the reader an element of conclusion within the acts of certain characters. This coupled with an interesting last page should ensure that readers will stick around to see how Pilgrim will react to a further level of disappointment and failure.
Alberto Ponticelli continues to give this book a 2000AD feel, with artwork that as mentioned previously shows a number of influences, not least is European feel that I hadn’t considered until speaking to Pat Mills on the Creator Spotlight podcast. Ponticelli’s art pulls you into the world whilst Hine’s writing keeps you there, at least for 22 pages. John Kalisz’s colors are again spot on. At first, I was surprised by how light the book looks. But I can see that by setting the scenes so, Kalisz is allowing for the contrast between the darker elements to be that much stronger. Between the trio, Ray Pilgrim’s world is full of the warmth of seemingly unconditional love and affection, tortured by the bleak coldness of betrayal and death.
By now you should have realized the plethora of quality books that AfterShock is putting on comic racks with a heady mix of dark tales, violent pasts and the promise of more to come.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5