Will Skye help those in need … or are her own desires more important?
Writer: Dave Franchini
Artwork: Cleber Lima
Colors: Jorge Cortes
Letters: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
As Skye makes a stop on her journey, new information is revealed. With a deadly threat on the horizon, Skye will need the help of old allies of she hopes to make it through the coming war of Neverland!
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
Upon arriving in Neverland the Guardian and Stephen were not greeted to the warmest of welcomes, immediately set upon by wordless creatures who hunger for nothing but battle. And yet as the duo are ruthlessly pursued through the dense undergrowth of the forest they cannot elude these ceaseless hunters, leaving but one choice to thin the odds – to split up. While Skye had brought up the subject between breathless blasts of magic, Stephen himself was not sure about this strategy and voiced his objection in way of concern for helping his new friend but he was left with little choice than agreement with the flimsy plan. As the pair fled down separate paths Mathers found the enemy followed the same idea and continued their chase with the same fervent zeal as if they were starving for prey, but it was not long before she heard her guide screaming in panic. With no other choice than to help the self assured man Skye soon found him hanging upside down from a tree with the ebony monsters nipping at his hair for but a taste of his tender flesh, but with a valiant charge into the pack she soon turned their attention to her attacks. However as the Guardian swiftly culled the horde and they settle down for a rest an unseen beast leaped forward in an attempt to avenge his companions, but as black claws edged forward with nothing to stand in its way the attack was quickly ended by a golden bolt of energy.
The deliverer of this magic was in the form of a beautiful red headed fairy who Skye knew all too well, the protector of Neverland and the last of her kind – Belle. While the two friends reacquainted themselves and the Guardian explained the reason behind her journey, this forceful leader wasted no time in elaborating what has been happening and how the now familiar creatures have been kidnapping her people, with their only choice in retaliation being to prepare for war. Stunned by the ragtag group of fighters who were gathered Belle wasted no time in asking for Skye’s help but was swiftly rejected in favor of rescuing Shang, reasoning this battle was not hers and she could waste no more time. However as the fairy began to interject for her explanation, they were soon interrupted by a man calling for Stephen but instead addressing him as Hephaestus and chiding him for stealing the helmet and his brashness in returning after such a heinous act. Shocked by this confession her friend introduced the accuser as his father who was surprised to see the item in question was reunited with the shield and while the Guardian attempted to persuade a delay in its return, the parent wished for no such offer and was instead glad to be rid of what he had forged so long ago. Alarmed by this information Mathers wasted no time in asking about the set’s history and so the blacksmith started from the beginning … of a story concerning a man named Arthur and his kingdom of Camelot.
While we may have to return to the ponderous nature of Skye’s journey for the armor, it does not mean writer Dave Franchini cannot make it interesting and the best manner would be to inject a reminder of who she is up against – the new Knights of the Round Table and a missing Merlin. However even as we are given that recollection of her formidable foes, the story does not neglect to expand the battlefront upon which the Guardian must protect once we return to Neverland, but of course within this realm we must also confront its savior Belle and her own problems. Although this side trip was only necessary in Mathers’ eyes as a means to complete her collection, it still provides an interesting venue for the history behind its creation and more importantly a path for Belle to ask for help. But readers knew Skye would reject any request due to her single minded obsession in thinking rescuing Shang was her top priority and yet it is the moral of what happened to Arthur and seeing the suffering of the people which changes her mind; after all she is the Guardian of the Nexus and as the title suggests it is Skye’s duty to protect all realms from evil, even if she must set aside her own selfish ambition to save one man who may be like a father to help many who need her aid now. It is this selfless nobility which makes her such a worthwhile heroine, someone who will not hesitate to lend a sword in time of need … but all she required was a gentle push to steer her back in the right direction.
Even within the solemnity of a story dedicated to learning about the armor’s history, one cannot deny the fantastic illustrations of Cleber Lima able to create a frenetic spontaneity thanks to his dynamic imagery and the glowing colors of Jorge Cortes propelling readers into the richness of this issue without any hesitation, their artistry disguising beauty within ferocity. The dark delineation of nuanced details are what make Lima’s line work so stunning to observe, each element of musculature is defined and gives a strength to static characters and while the smooth transition between panels allows for fluidity of motion. And though Cortes’ palette may be overwhelming at times due to the brightness of some tones it is his clever application of shadows which allows the eye to linger over each curvaceous image, making us wonder what we may be missing within this striking atmosphere. One cannot but marvel at the gorgeous form of Skye fearlessly striking down nameless foes with such power and confidence, but if I did have complaint for the overzealous palette it would be the depiction of Belle; although one cannot complain of the otherworldly beauty for this commanding fairy, at the same time she seems to be missing some of the ethereal mysticism which should be portrayed through her display of diaphanous wings. As we see them now they appear to be solid forms of energy instead of transparent veils which we would considered linked to such magical beings, and while this is a minor inaccuracy the manner by which Belle is shown makes her seem to be a stand-in with taped on accessories and ruins what should be a spectacular reveal for one of Zenescope’s most iconic characters.
With the return of Skye’s dedication to her mission for protecting all within the realms, this issue reminds us why we admire this young woman even as she monetarily became lost within an obsession to find her mentor and defeat a new rival. As we learn how the previous owner of the armor was consumed by its overwhelming power one cannot but cringe to think the Guardian almost followed the same path, but was eventually saved by caring friends and a reminder of what should be most important – protecting the innocent who cannot save themselves. Although the artwork portrays our heroine within all of her gorgeous splendor one cannot but object to seeing Belle marred by an obvious oversight and can only hope it will be corrected with her next appearance, even if it is a small hiccup for this beautiful issue.
Age Rating: T (for Teens)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: October 16, 2019