Art by Gary Morgan and Loran Skinkis
"Just beyond the final breath of our year, lies a field... The Field on the Edge of the Woods.
To the North, The Great White Wall, a beacon of hope on a remorseless landscape, and to the south... The Woods, the dark twisted closet of the world... a place that never forgives and never forgets"
That is how The Field on the Edge of the Woods greets it's reader, this odd little book. When I say odd, I really mean it, as the narrative and art it uses is unique, and small because it literally is smaller than a standard issue of a comic book, although noticeably thicker than one (about double the size, with a spine). One of its creators, Mike "Frick" Weber sent me a review copy and I am glad he did, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
From there things slow down and we learn that Gary used to be a producer in life, and the man that rescued him tells him that he has been writing a script as a side. The story now switches as it becomes about a story-within-a-story. It's a tale of two army forces, the Riders led by the White Rider and the Dark Nasties (the same imps as before) battling over a mysterious bundle. A third party becomes involved in the fray, Pontius Pilate and an Indian woman named Chenoa, under the instructions of the same woman that helped Gary escape earlier in the story, although it's not immediately clear what their purposes are. The big battle ends as both forces withdraw.
Pilate, Chenoa and the White Rider eventually meet at a different time in order to retrieve the bundle and that is how the scripts ends, with the overall story following suit shortly afterward. Rounding up the book is a series of extras, such as pin-ups and a peak at the various steps in the creative proccess of this book (script, layout, pencils and inks).
There a lot of unanswered questions in this book, but Weber acknowledges them in the form of Gary commenting and asking questions about the script. There's a lot of characters and elements introduced in the script, but the hooded man answers by saying that everything will eventually be clear, as if it answering directly to the readers. It helps that both part of the stories, although clearly separated, are obviously set in the same world and will probably end up being related to each other farther down the road. One thing that really piqued my interest was that Pilate and Chenoa are "numbered" (tattoos in their wrists) and that the White Rider found them to be below him because of this.
The art is gorgeous, done completely in black and white and with heavy shadows, but the smaller page size does not steal anything away from it. One of the most interesting thing it does is using words of the narrative or dialogue as part of the background. It's something that you usually see done for sounds and other effects, but not for the dialogue. The art is incredibly detailed and expressive and it can portray the funny, creepy or action scene equally well. My only complain about this book is that the lettering with the narration in the beginning sticks out too much from the rest of the book, visually clashing with everything else around it.
Verdict - Buy It. The Field on the Edge of the Woods is an interesting and unique fantasy tale, although it looks like it could go just about anywhere from here. The only complain I found is a minor one, which goes to show how much I liked this issue, so if you like fantasy stories, this will be right up your alley. You can always check out a preview of the first 28 pages of the book over at FilmsAndComics.com, as well as a very professional looking animated trailer of the book.