He Who Fights Monsters #1
Ablaze Publishing 2021
Written by Francesco Artibani
Illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera
Coloured by Giovanna Niro
Lettered by ALWS’ Troy Peteri
On All Hallows’ Eve, a community struggles under the boot of the Nazi war machine when supernatural forces come to play a part in the conflict! From the artist of the bestselling Something is Killing the Children comes a Halloween tale that will send shivers up your spine…
It's World War 2 and the struggle between good and evil is in full force. In Prague, the great Bohemian city is being oppressed by the Nazi occupation and the population lives in terror, while the resistance forces try to organize themselves in the shadows. It is an almost impossible task. With the ruthless SS tightening their grip on every street and neighborhood with overwhelming might, only one hope feeds the struggle. A crazy hope, which rests on the fragile foundations of an ancient, monstrous legend….
I came into this not knowing what it was about, only that it was from Ablaze and that it had to be on my reading list. I’m telling you if it’s from Ablaze it’s worth reading point blank period. What I found here is a story of the past that resonates with me personally on a very strong and unique level. History, mysticism and war are embattled and embroiled here.
I’m super impressed with the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter really does a magnificent job in bringing us an early look at their personalities. The pacing is excellent and how we see it take us through the pages revealing the story is exceptionally well handled.
How we see this being structured and how the layers within the story begin to emerge and grow is pretty smartly done. I like the then and now storytelling we are seeing utilised here and it’s also well executed. How the avenues within the layers are opened up are excellent to see and that they add this fantastic depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is phenomenally well achieved.
With the mood, tone and feel of the story, which we see shine through, being created by the interiors here it really suits this story. I love the fact that more often than not we see backgrounds being utilised throughout the book as they really enhance and expand the moments in all the right ways. They also work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. How we see the utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a superb eye for how colour works. This great distinctive style that promises so much more than what we see is beautifully rendered.
There is so much potential here and whether or not Jewish Mysticism takes on an extremely active role or is just the inspiration isn’t as important as the fact that we are seeing this here. I’m super impressed with this introductory issue, it grabs your attention and makes you want to see and know more and it does this right from the get go. There’s some spectacular writing and strong characterisation with these superb interiors are bringing the past to life once again.