Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Comeback #3 Review

Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh's thrilling new crime / time travel series, Comeback, hits stands with its third issue on the morrow.  The first two issues have been pretty solid in my books, providing for some terse and atmospheric crime reading.  This time around, things are going even further sideways on Seth and Mark, continuing to add to their difficulties.  The question is, how does it read?  I'd invite you to hit the jump to find out.

Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Michael Walsh
Colour by Jordie Bellaire

After establishing the rules of the world in issue #2 and subsequently pushing most of that out of whack in issue #2, Comeback #3 sees things go even further off the rails as we start to really see the many consequences of what happens when things don't go quite as planned. Ed Brission has been steering this story with a firm hand, moving things along at an exact and deliberate pace, and while that has made for a bit of a slow burn in earlier issues, this time around it means that things are moving all out. And let me tell you, it makes for one hell of a read.

When speaking with Brisson last month, he mentioned how he hates exposition, and that is abundantly clear here, with things moving at a rapid pace throughout the issue. One scene barely ends before another starts right up at full tilt. There is no time wasted telling the reader what's going on, with the book preferring instead to show the reader what’s up and leaving it to them to connect the dots of how everything fits together.  It really helps the flow of the narrative, and thanks to Brisson and Walsh’s excellent storytelling, enables them to pack in a lot of whole lot of stuff into this book.

They manage to get some really poignant scenes into the issue, including Seth’s difficulty with doing what he sees at the right thing.  Brisson manages to make it clear that it’s not that Seth doesn’t want to do right so much as he simply doesn’t know what to do.  This is perfectly illustrated where Seth tries to explain himself to other characters.  It’s been established that Mark is the talker in the team, so when Seth tries to use his words, he ends up stumbling over them or not being able to find the right ones.  It’s a subtle move by Brisson that goes a long way to showing how nervous and out of his depth Seth is with the situation he’s created for himself.

However, Brisson also has the great talent of knowing how when to balance storytelling through dialogue and when it’s better to step aside and let the pictures do the talking.  Thankfully, Walsh is more than able to step into that role of visual storyteller, providing the perfect complement to Brisson’s written script.  Walsh shows great skill in the way he frames conversations between characters, which continue to be an important part of this story.  He has an eye for choosing dynamic angles for his panelling that makes ever scene feel like there’s plenty of movement, even when characters are standing still.  Character expressions and body language are another of Walsh’s strong suits, as it’s always clear what characters are feeling, even without the dialogue.

That talent is put to good use for the moments of violence that come up over the course of Comeback #3.  While things have been relatively calm thus far, there’s always been the threat of danger bubbling just below the surface of this world, and it finally bursts forth in this issue.  Unsurprisingly, a lot of it comes from Owen, the Reconnect tough guy who appears to be in charge of the organization’s really dirty work.  Equally unsurprisingly, Walsh does a brilliant job putting it all on the page.

The first major whack of the issue is detailed in a panel with a stark white background that acts to really emphasize the brutality and the blood on the page.  It’s an incredibly effective choice and also shows some great work by series colourist Jordie Bellaire as that white makes the whole thing pop, drawing tons of attention to the act.  In fact, Walsh and Bellaire actually use this tactic a second time in the issue, and the repetition actually makes the second instance more effective.  The second time around, the pristine white background is soiled by the blood and gore, showing the impact of this sudden brutality on the world itself and hinting that it’s only the beginning of things to come.  It’s a small detail, but it speaks volumes for the book as a whole.

Small details are what this book is all about.  Whether it’s Brisson writing, Walsh’s art, or Bellaire’s colours, there’s an intense attention to detail that adds up over the course of each and every issue.  These creators put a lot of thought into what happens and what’s on the page, resulting in a dense and rich book that is filled with interesting things to parse and dissect.  This review is but a scratching of the surface of everything that’s going down in Comeback #3 and that depth makes the reading experience that much more satisfying.

And while I’ve already praised Belliare, she deserves to be praised yet again.  Her colours continue to be integral to this book’s presence and atmosphere, and she nails scene after scene after scene.  Walsh lays down strong and pronounced lines, but Bellaire always seems to find a way to kick them up to another level.  These two have great chemistry together, and I truly hope Comeback will be but the first collaboration between the two, because they do beautiful things together.

Verdict – Buy It.  Things have been going from bad to worse pretty much every step of the way for Seth and Mark, but Comeback #3 is clear that Brisson and Walsh are far from done.  The stakes seem to get higher by the moment, and while they definitely hit something of a boiling point towards the end of the issue, let’s just say that I think that the worst has yet to come.  It’s hard to know how this is all going to end, but odds are good that it won’t be quietly (which makes for some great reading on our end).

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Eric van Schaik said...

I'm going to buy the trade for sure.

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