“No good deed goes unpunished”, is the motto that weaves its way into this story of destroyed hope and personal world views, from Advent Comics.
To say that Willow is a bit of a do-gooder is a bit of an understatement. She rescues people from muggings, collects food for the homeless, engages with street life hierarchy gaining their help and finally, convincing a pregnant woman on the run to seek help at the New Foundation. So why does the issue start with her calling herself a monster, wounded, bleeding and surrounded by weapons?
Writer Elijah Thomas channels any number of vigilantes, most notably Oliver Queen’s tirade from Arrow, about failing the city and its subsequent saving. In Willow, Thomas has a character that has lived, at least in her perception, the high life of the city. Two thirds of the book are given to the setup of Willow’s life which whilst interesting, does suffer from a touch of exposition-itus. This is hardly a major crime; this is after all issue one of a new character. This approach does also allow for a mostly organic trip around Willow’s fellow cast-mates; the Spock-like Andy, Manny and idealistic cop Andy Sawyer.
Jacob Newell provides the interior and cover art for this issue. Reading the book, I am struck with how honest his work is. For newer artists, the temptation to clone/homage/copy their favourite artists must be huge. Newell actually takes a step back and manages to fill the book with his art, with his style. The pace of the story allows Newel to work on camera angles and storytelling as there are not a lot of quick action scenes to help him out. Still there are a couple of cliff hanger moments, that Newell builds up to well. I don’t normally mention the lettering of a book. However, the letters in this issue from Josh Southall come in two modes; inner monologue in purple boxes which give the panel a professional feel and the dialogue which works, but I feel that, in a number of cases the word balloons are too big, which affects the relationship between the written word and the images in the panel.
Setting up the rules and roles in order to break them and cause the conflict in the story is practically what a first issues sets out to do. By starting at what some would see as the end, Thomas has set the reader up for Willow’s fall from idealism, whilst along the way laying tables that at some point will have their tablecloths pulled off, maybe affecting the cutlery; maybe not. Either way, it is an ambitious way to start a new book, that will serve to pique a lot of people’s curiosity.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art & Color – 3.5 Stars
Lettering – 3 Stars
Written by Elijah Thomas
Art and cover by Jacob Newell
Letters by Josh Southall