The covers: There are two for you to locate this month. The Regular cover is by Joe Madureira and Marte Gracia. In the center of this image is the fearsome Lash. To the left of this antagonist is Medusa, looking downtrodden. To the right is the shifty, spiky-headed Lineage whose motives seem sinister after last issue’s appearance. All three of these characters are colored very darkly, providing ample opportunity for Dante, the character readers are seeing this story through, to be brightly aflame across the bottom of the book. I wish the colors had been brighter on the top three as they are absolutely lost with the dark coloring. Brightening them up would not have lost any of their emotion, nor would it have overpowered Dante’s image. In fact, the coloring in the image I’m using for this review is much brighter than the actual cover. The Variant is by Ed McGuinness and Israel Silva. Lash is entwined in Medusa’s hair, with the Inhuman leader high above him. Behind them both is a building and telephone pole on fire. It’s okay, but not as detailed as the Regular cover. Overall grades: Regular A- and Variant B
The story: “They Fall” by Charles Soule opens with Lash bringing another find to Orollan. This time it’s a young boy from Minnesota he renames Korvostax. The landscape is ruins, made that way, Lash says, by Black Bolt. He brings new Inhumans here to help him rebuild this land and prepare for the battle against Medusa and her loyalists. There readers meet the stereotypical child-like character, the haggard friend, as this new character learns to fear their leader. Pretty rote stuff. Near New York, at the location of New Attilan, Lineage is trying to get an audience with Medusa because he has information for her. Before he reveals his knowledge, he reveals quite a bit of himself to one of her attendants, and it’s different, to say the least. The book goes back and forth between these two locations, showing how each group is living and what their plans are. It’s fairly easy to see that eventually the groups will battle, with the results never really in doubt. Lash has been built up considerably, so I was very disappointed with how easily he’s dispatched this issue. I doubt he’ll follow Medusa lockstep, but the purpose of this issue is to bring his group to her group’s attention and have the teams merge, albeit in forced fashion. This is just building things up for a later battle. It’s okay, but nothing fantastic. Putting Dante in this issue’s back seat hurts the readers’ experience that was built up with the previous two issues. Overall grade: C+
The art: Here the book really shines. This is a beautifully drawn book by Joe Madureira. It’s nice to see a Marvel book where characters’ faces aren’t hidden in darkness. I liked the brief look at the other denizens of Orollan and hope to see more of them in future issues. Orollan itself is a hellhole that no one would willingly live in unless a stronger individual brought them there. If the book is to have any flaw, it is the lack of backgrounds often: when they appear they are great, but they’re absent more often than not. Medusa is amazing. Her hair is constantly writhing about her, even when she’s sitting. When she’s in battle the hair is a wonderfully visual weapon. Gorgon is also spectacular looking and terrific in battle. The battle is a real showstopper. This is what Marvel Comics is known for, and it’s exceptional, though too brief. This is the book you show a non-fan to make them a fan. Overall grade: A-
The colors: Right away it’s easy to see that Marte Gracia is a talent. Beautiful blues on the opening page are followed up with great oranges to illustrate the ruin. The coloring of the sound effect in the opening panel is electric. The interior of New Attilan when it’s first introduced is way too dark, but, thankfully, this doesn’t last long. Dante brings some bright colors back to the book and they continue during the nine page fight. Colors are used to great effect in the panels without backgrounds, of which there are many. A great job. Overall grade: A
The letters: Clayton Cowles of VC provides sound effects, dialogue, and scene setting. Cowles’s dialogue is unique among letterers. I haven’t seen this type of font by anyone else and it’s great to see that something new can be done with dialogue. It stands out and makes the book seem a little more special. Overall grade: A
The final line: The story is not as strong this issue and is a bit predictable. After having Lash built up, his being taken down is too quick. Still, the visuals are good and I didn’t feel ripped off. This is the only Marvel Comic I’ve bought three issues of in some time. Overall grade: B+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.