The Portent Ashes (Dark Horse Comics)
Written By: Peter Bergting
Art By: Peter Bergting
Every world, saved by a hero, is saved from a villains attempt at domination or total destruction. This graphic novel is set 10 years after such a battle between the heroine, Lin and a powerful demon, Guishen, but by way of magic, she is imprisoned in the spirit world, away from those she saved. It is unclear whether she magically trapped herself or if it was some demon’s magic that exiled her. Through her story, pieces of the past begin to explain this heroine’s puzzle.
The drama itself is told like a great samurai story (with magic), where the main character travels the lands, investigating what is wrong and why, searching for a purpose again. She even backtracks and visits her home woods, of the primeval forest, which have since been burned. The warlock heroine who is also a wood nymph, trained collectively by a witch, Kaspara, and a warrior, Alkuin, travels the real world to discover why she was trapped in some other realm, and by whom. During her absence, the world crumbled and burned. Though she stopped the original demon, she left the door open for other warlords and warlocks to raise factions, each lobbying for her support in order to wage war against the other. It also allowed a new vengeful demon called Dark Shape to emerge.
With some predictable scenarios developing as more information is discovered; some through eavesdropping and some through portent, a way of interpreting dreams to see the future through their symbolism (hence the graphic novels name); the end confrontation is set with in beautiful scenery that is showcased throughout the pivotal moments. In this case an ancient tree covered in snow. The entire book is well drawn to convey the mood of the scenes, and devastation in the wake of Lin being gone. Washed out, bold colors and darkness are the main tools used to get across this story. In what felt like one giant lead up to the final fight, filled collecting allies, twists and surprises, the end confrontation has an unexpected ending, which leaves you with a teaser for more entries into the world created entirely by Peter Bergting.
Clown Fatale (Dark Horse Comics)
Written by: Victor Gischler
Art by: Maurizio Rosenzweig
Color by: Moreno Dinisio
Take four desperate for work women and insert them into a job field that degrades them and makes them hate their lives. No they’re not strippers, though this graphic comic doesn’t stop them from showing their all to get what they want. These four girls are clowns; with four different personalities symbolized on their faces in clown make up, and each of gets their very own chapter to star in.
After the necessary opening act and introductions (with some nudity to emphasize the shamelessness some of these girls have) a case of mistaken identity gives this sisterhood of clowns an opportunity to escape the circus life they despise. Their chance comes in the form of a paid contract, to murder someone for a local kingpin.
You never really forget these girls and their pasts, as each is thrown into a situation that “unlocks” the potential to kill within them. Again, their mistaken identity comes into play, giving a solid nemesis and problem that needs to be resolved. Before you know it, you’re into the final chapter after these clown faced killers have paved a path of mayhem through the town and their circus.
With a cast of unforgettable characters, some creative death scenes and a tense final fight, you will actually be wishing for more story, and less of the in your face t & a.