Vault Comics 2021
Written by Matthew Erman
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
Coloured by Gab Contreras
Lettered by Jim Campbell
With Carlos burning, the injured witch Yonna has taken off into the wild deserts of West Texas. Meanwhile, Paxton LaBelle and The Hounds of Love ride to New Madrid in victory, following divination magic to their next target.
This issue opens up with us meeting a new witch and one who seems to be doing very well for herself in something of a hippie type commune. Trailers in the desert, beautiful scenery and a chance for her to be an herbalist for them while continuing to do her own thing. Liana of the Soul is a one of those motherly or sisterly type women who comes across as easy going, trusting and just the kind of familiar that puts you at ease and the fact that we SEE this thanks to LIsa and Gab is one of the best looks at how artwork can influence you into seeing and believing something. I’m glad that New Madrid is brought up as well, this is the second time this week that i’ve seen something regarding it so if I believed in omens or prophecies I might believe I need to go there myself.
I like the way that we see this being told. The story & plot development which we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented extremely well. Learning that New Madrid is well versed in vampires was just an added bonus and it’s pretty clever actually. The character development is utterly delightful and it’s super strong as well. How the dialogue, interaction between characters and how they all act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter really help us to get to know them better. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way we fall in a very comfortable rhythm.
I am enjoying the way that this is structured and how we see the layers within the story continue to grow stronger and continually emerge with each new character and location. The addition of these adds some depth and little complexity to the story. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is really well achieved.
The interiors here are darling. The linework that we see and how it is being utilised to create the detail in the work is beautifully rendered. As I mentioned earlier it’s amazing to see how well we are able to get a feel for these characters simply by how they come across on the page from their faces, facial expressions, body language and the clothing that they wear. Backgrounds are utilised fairly well, though we could always see more, as they enhance the moments and bring us more about a character than you might imagine. They also bring us depth perception, a sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. Also the way we see the creativity and imagination come to life on the pages is absolutely lovely. The colour work is nicely rendered. I’d like to see more variation or gradation perhaps, especially in the solid backgrounds, but the colour blocking with the various hues and tones within the colours to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is done extremely well.
It is a fun little book, this one. We already learned how much better the blood of a witch tastes to vampires and of course they are more effective in killing them I would imagine so it’s a two birds one stone kind of feeling to me. The characters are well conceived and beautifully executed throughout and it makes it easy for us to like them, relate to them and root for them.