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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Reapers. JoJo King (Writer), Adrian9 (Art), John Palmer IV (Letters) Insane Comics (2015)

An engaging and enjoyable comic, a strong story idea and black humour work very well with sparse strong art. Violet and Mary both die at the same time and find themselves thrown together when they meet Victor, one of the Grim Reapers. Victor has a job for both women, work that he is unable to do himself, and persuades both to accept his offer. Mary and Violet set to work with nicely unpredictable results.
JoJo King solves the story problems that come with a set up with assured confidence and dark wit, establishing the cast and the story  framework with economy and impact. Violet and Mary die from different causes, which Jojo King uses as a quick way to also establish a background and character for each. This sets up a nice mix of outlook and motivation for each, they arrive at the same place by very different routes, story possibilities arising from their differences have been established very naturally.
Victor is a problem for any writer, how to give Death a personality that does not cut across the essential nature of who they are. In this case Death is nicely ruthless and pleasingly reckless, Victor has a requirement and really when it comes to it, finesse is not a major part of what he does. The balance between the story set up and the action is very well done, no time is wasted and nothing is left out either.
Adrian9's art is sparse and dark, the death scenes for Violet and Mary are excellent, they establish the differences between the two from the start. One of the very nice aspects to the art is that when the two women are naked in Victor's realm, the nudity is utterly matter of fact. Neither Mary nor Violet comment on their lack of clothing, neither seem bothered by it. It is a nice move that allows them be characters, they are not trapped by any sexual nudges to the reader before they have been given a chance to establish themselves. The art shines with the faces and close ups of the cast, living and dead, Adrian9 uses shading with skill to give depth and personality to the cast. The action sequences are not quite forceful enough, except for one that uses a tight focus on a character to great effect.
John Palmer IV's lettering for the dialogue is not a forceful as it really needs to be, it is functional and readable but the story framework calls for a all the elements to be assertive. Victor's dialogue is effective, it adds a little flourish to him that is very welcome. The rest of the cast are not given the same support and they would benefit from it. On the other hand the sound effects are spot on.
A clever set up with a load of potential avenues for the story and an engaging cast, Reapers is great invitation to the reader to settle down for more to come.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review issue very kindly sent by JoJo King. Reapers can be bought here,!/REAPERS/c/13311144/offset=0&sort=nameAsc, available in digital and print. Well worth it.

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