Story: Mirka Andolfo
Art: Mirka Andolfo with color assist by Gianluca Papi
Letterer: Fabio Amerlia
What They Say:
The first story arc of MIRKA ANDOLFO’s Gothic tale comes to an end. Lady Hellaine finds a love interest…or is this just a part of her machinations? Who are the ruthless “hunters,” and what are they tracking? And what’s their relationship with whatever lies in the abandoned mines?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While this is billed as the end of the first story arc, it’s one that doesn’t feel like that simply because of how the last page unfolds. That’s basically saying come back for more of this and maybe a resolution then. Anyway, I’ve long loved Mirka Andolfo’s artwork and this has been my first experience with her writing stories. There’s a lot to like with it because it’s very layered, going in a really big way with deep plans that feel like a lot has been thought out so that there are guideposts for her to work with. It’s lavishly illustrated and colored, quite possibly one of the best-looking books on the market. Every bit of the production detail regarding it is fantastic and I’m thoroughly engaged with it.
But the flow of the story itself, the gaps in the first three issues in its release, has just left me feeling very disconnected come this issue. I managed better with the second issue after a three-month break simply because there was less going on in that installment and it was more focused on what it wanted to accomplish. Here, it’s working a lot of different story ideas and moving them forward incrementally but without enough of a hook to make one of them really sink. There’s interesting things with the butler/grandpa character but I’ve lost the thread on that and there isn’t enough of a reconnect here. I’m interested in Hellaine’s attempts at understanding what it means to be a mother as she’s trying to reconnect with her own past and the little girl provides for something interesting and useful along the way. But there are so many things Hellaine is doing throughout this that it felt like everything was a light touch rather than an engaging moment.
I’m rating separately for story and artwork for once because the story, which has interesting moments, just didn’t connect for me overall and I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure out how to review the actual story pieces because it’s so disconnected. And that’s what made me realize that this is my last issue of the series as a jumping-off point since it’s the end of the first arc. This is something I can see revisiting when there are a few collections out for it and you can see how it all come together much better. I love Andolfo’s works so I’m really hopeful it has a strong group of fans behind it and I’ll be in the second wave when the collected editions can deliver something that will work better for my reading needs. It’s such a gorgeous book it really deserves a big audience for it.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 24th, 2020