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Monday, February 13, 2017

Crystal's Odyssey. Jordan King (Writer), Patrick Buermeyer (Art), Liam O'Connor (Colours),Chris Allen (Letters). WP Comics (2017)

Superbly engaging and entertaining horror comic that that solves the problems of a first issue with astonishing confidence and pitch black humour. Crystal is an assistant to a coroner and she is drowning in grief for her dead husband. When a body is delivered, to the joy of the coroner and the consternation of Crystal events start to move in very strange directions. Crystal makes a decision and starts on an odyssey with two very strange companions. Naturally things take a nasty turn and Crystal finds shelter at place that is plainly both more and less than it seems. The narrative switches and May, a very and justifiably sad  young girl, who has just made a new friend is about to demonstrate the depth of her rage. The story moves somewhere very bleak and unexpected as May finds herself somewhere very strange and horrifying.
Jordan King has packed an astonishing quantity of story into the comic without the story ever feeling rushed or compressed. This is a high speed and extremely violent set up that never sacrifices character or emotional framework for shock or gore. The cast are ferociously alive, the walk on parts are give a chance to be someone, Crystal and May are horrifying alive, vulnerable and packed with huge energy. Jordan King creates a very welcome ambiguity with Crystal and May that invites the reader into the story and creates a precious sympathy for both. This is critical given the level of violence in the story, the forces that are propelling Crystal and May have been set up with care and detail, they do not get lost in the explosive action that follows.
Patrick Buermeyer's art is every bit a match for the story, it captures and amplifies every nuance and emotion of the cast. The body language is expressive, the cast move through their off kilter context naturally and with physical presence and weight. Crystal's friend Jessika is everything that shattered, delicate Crystal is not, she has the steely rage that pushes against Crystal's devouring grief. The physical contrast is huge without ever being overbearing. May in her little girl blue dress and green eyes is just terrifying, with her compressed rage and terrifying apologies. Patrick Buermeyer delivers conversation and disemboweling with equal confidence and care.
Liam O'Connor's colours are so natural that they are a character in themselves, they give the art depth and definition, they create a emotional context that just drives the story and the art wonderful energy. The sound effects by Chris Allen give a horrible physical depth to the action, in particular the sounds over an all black page ensure that the reader does not have to see anything to get the full impact, the following panels still are brutally unexpected and push the story to very dark places.
With a set up as confident as this and as willing to take ideas as far as they have already, the story possibilities are (happily for readers) both enticing and horrifying.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Kim Roberts, to purchase a copy of Crystal's Odyssey 1and enjoy the sticky, bloody embrace of tremendous talent making it all look easy, it is available from  http://www.wpcomicsltd.com/comics

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