Eric's Archaia Comics Review: Days Missing: Kestus #5, Fraggle Rock Vol. 2 #3
Published: April 22, 2011 - 10:53am
This week, Archaia brings forth its white-haired soliloquy spouting, time traveling Steward to end his current arc. An issue of a comic inspired by the lovable Jim Henson creations in Fraggle Rock is given a review from last week's pull.
Days Missing: Kestus #5
Days Missing: Kestus #5 reminds me of the classic BeeGees lyric, “It's only words and words are all I have to take you heart away.” In the end, all the Steward has are his journals that have been in development since the dawn of man. This assessment makes the character the perfect conduit for Phil Hester's verbose style. Beyond the volume of thoughts on the page, the writer is also a dramatist that builds up to a fitting end to a story arc that has involved time travel and spanned some of the most important moments in history. Like the Y2K scare covered in the last issue, this edition's plot surrounds another hotbed of pseudoscience hysteria: the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. By playing upon real and relevant fears, the entire fiction is enriched. This is especially true considering this is a essentially a story about gods living among us and shaping the path of evolution. It also works to ground the large, fantastic ending to the arc that both puts a cap in one plot and sets up the next. It's a good balance that will keep readers from rolling their eyes at the more outlandish concepts.
David Marquez is given a lot to do this issue. He goes from cosmic, to mundane, to action, and back to cosmic with ease. Visually, the transitions are smooth between each panel where one can actually see the what happens to get from point “a” to point “b.” There's a good level of detail here in which facial lines and creases gives character, yet it never becomes too busy. The action is framed well and never becomes the focus of the piece. The most stunning work, however, is when things get cosmic. The myriad of galaxies and stars give an extra amount of depth and scope to the larger than life characters. It “Smile[s] and everlasting smile, a smile can bring [it] near to me.”
Story: Phil Hester
Art: David Marquez
Cover: Dale Keown
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Fraggle Rock Vol. 2 #3
While it doesn't transcend age boundaries like some all ages comics, Fraggle Rock Vol. 2 #3 remains a delightful read for younger readers. It is a mini-anthology of three stories: “My Gift is My Song” by Katie Cook, “Shopping With Silly Creatures” by Katie Strickland, and “Red's Chomp-A-Thon” by Paul Morrissey. If one is familiar with the laid back style of the Jim Henson children's series, this will be a comfortable place indeed. Each writer shows a skill at capturing the serene nature of their tiny subjects with a degree of earnestness. With this quality, none of the life lessons found throughout the title will come off as labored. When reading the comic to my daughter, I found myself easily slipping into my sloppy imitation of the classic voice cast. Another testament to the comic's quality: it was asked for second, third, etc. readings. Much like the original, there is absolutely nothing to be offended by in this book, yet it has enough charm not to never become annoying (A rarity among children's properties, believe me!).
The three stories each get their own unique art style. Katie Cook illustrates her own story in a way that is the most simplistic. This is not to say that it is badly done; quite the contrary. It's a fun style that allows for vibrant colors (provided by Joanna Estep) that give the title a wealth of personality and visual appeal. Cook also utilizes facial expressions that are surprisingly subtle, but effective. Lindsay Cibos portrays the Traveling Matt story in a warm almost photo-realistic, romantic style that gives the story a faux epic feel which is characteristic of the script's delivery. Last, but not least, Nichol Asworth provides some of my favorite art in the comic by finding a happy medium between the previous two. There are some wonderful designs to the edible Doozer structures that give a lot of personality to the little guys. I also enjoyed that the All-Knowing Trash Heap was conveyed as the true diva that she is.
Besides plenty of nostalgic Fraggle Rock references, included in the package are a pretty easy follow “how to draw” page and instructions for making a radish flower. It may not seem like much but it gets extra points for extending the life of the comic beyond just the stories.
Story: Katie Cook, Katie Strickland, & Paul Morrissey
Art: Katie Cook, Joanna Estep, Lindsay Cibos, & Nichol Asworth
Cover: A. Katie Cook B. Lindsay Cibos
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