Rating: 4.5/5 – Charming Comedic Fantasy from Bill Willingham
This came out several weeks ago and may have flown under the radar of many people because Devil’s Due/1First is a relatively small publisher that may not have been order by all comic shops. The 2nd issues should be out shortly of this wonderful series by Bill Willingham, who is probably best known for DC/Vertigo’s Fables.
Lark’s Killer is a high fantasy series with a strong comedic element that may remind some of ‘Jack of Fables’, but this is by no means directly in the vein of any of the Fables books. Our story (an extra long 33 pages) opens with a Dungeons & Dragons style dungeon crawl as a prologue, introduced with “In Which We Recount an Incident Taking Place Long After the Main Events of Our Forthcoming Tale”. Artist Mark Dos Santos does a great job using a slightly different style and color palette for the sequences in the “long after the events of the main story” pages to give them a distinctly different visual feel. The dungeon adventurers eventually get to a humorous reveal in a double page spread that serves to set up the main story where we are introduced to the eponymous hero of the comic, a young girl named Lark. Dos Santos uses a lightly rendered style reminiscent of animation where we get nuance from the colors by the Salvatore Aiala Studio, as opposed to from blacks shaded into the art in pencil/ink. It worked really well for me in this light-hearted tale and Dos Santos did a great job with page layouts and panel design to keep the story moving along while drawing my eye to the action when needed.
Ultimately Lark’s Killer is a “portal adventure”, that sub-genre of fantasy where the characters are transported into a new and fantastical world by mysterious means. The story then has the ability to trade off fantasy tropes with “fish out of water” themes because the hero is from someplace else. Think of Dorothy in Wizard of Oz or John Carter in the Mars books. We meet Lark seconds after her transport to the fantastic Kingdom of Vess. Previously she had been running from a Walgreen’s clerk, chasing her for shoplifting and suddenly found that she was being chased by a trio of sword wielding thugs in a decidedly “not Walgreen’s” setting. I was captivated by Bill Willingham’s storytelling and dialogue and enchanted by Mark Dos Santos’ art and am glad that my local comic shop had a copy of this on their rack so I could discover it. I’ll definitely be back for issue #2.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics