In Review: Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla #3

Too many things are left unanswered and I want more!

The cover: Lovecraft and Tesla are opposite each but share the same look of surprise as they gaze upon the trio that surprised them at the end of last issue: a young, thin man clad in white, an older man resembling Robert Oppenheimer who is smoking a pipe and holding a book that may be the much searched for copy of the Necronomicon, and a much older woman who has a pistol trained on our pair of heroes. Good composition by Tom Rogers that shows the heroes and the villains, but the coloring, which I’m assuming to have been done by Dexter Weeks, is too dark on the villains. The heroes have to be highlighted, undoubtedly, but the villains and the background are too dark. All the but the leads are in a dark blob. Brighter colors would have been fine; it still would have had a creepy vibe, but this coloring has readers straining at what’s causing the heroes’ worry. Overall grade: B-

The story: A lone plane flies “Somewhere over the Atlantic.” Flame suddenly bursts to its left and an explosion of energy complements its disappearance. There is no debris. Is it connected to the events playing out in Providence? You may have to go back to Issue #1 to remind yourself what this has to do with the story. Lovecraft and Tesla, trying to sneak into a college library’s basement, have been beaten to the punch by the three individuals on the cover. The young man holds Tesla by the tie, the woman holds her gun on Lovecraft, and the man with the pipe sits calmly in a chair. He breaks the silence by asking Lovecraft, “What do you want with the book?” Howard’s response is too obtuse, and Tesla’s arm is put in a handy vice to show they are not above torture. The wheel is turned and Nikola screams in pain. This angers Lovecraft, who begins to chant something, which causes the pipe smoker, who is identified as Sean, to look alarmed. The evil trio’s plans are revealed by Lovecraft, due to an odd tattoo on all of their necks. Things take a turn when an earlier character returns and the heroes are separated. This was a good choice by writer John Reilly because splitting them up allows each to show to the reader what they are capable of when caged. Tesla fights with what’s around him, while Lovecraft fights with his words while interrogated. There’s a nice action scene that closes out the book, and series, with the final three pages tantalizingly laying out a sequel. This issue is fun, but there is no conclusion. The title of the series is mentioned once, at the end, and only opens doors that readers can’t go through. I enjoyed this, but I expected more of a conclusion. If there are more issues to come, I’ll raise this grade by a full letter. Overall grade: B+

The art: I enjoyed the art more this issue than in the previous issue. It’s very consistent over the run of the published three issues, but in this issue artist Tom Rogers inks his own work on Pages 10 – 22, while Dexter Weeks inks the first nine pages. The changes in the art are slight but noticeable, and I’m always happy to see a penciller ink their own work, as that vision is what they intended their visuals to be. Weeks has a thin ink line and Rogers is heavier on his work, but both look fine. Much of this issue’s visuals deal with close-ups of individuals, and that suits the story well, because this is a game of cat and mouse with the three antagonists, and they definitely put our heroes through the wringer. Sean, the pipe smoker, was my favorite character of the issue because his calm demeanor was a ruse that I was waiting to see explode, and I was not disappointed. Tesla is the man of action this issue, with Pages 15 and 16 being the stand outs, with the first page being textless, having to be told entirely in pictures. Rogers is able to get emotion out of the silence and tease at the bottom that the kid gloves are off. Thick lines are used throughout to provide shading on characters, but they need to be thinner. I understand what Rogers is doing, but they distract me every time I run across them, such as in the final panel on 19. Overall grade: B+

The colors: The colors on this book are very well done, as many panels have no background and rely on Dexter Weeks to color them to accentuate the action. For example, the bottom of Page 1 uses bright burnt orange behind the villain to show his ire, but the colors lighten under Tesla to make him softer and sympathetic. Against black backdrops, Rogers has outlined characters so they aren’t flush with the darkness, allowing Weeks to choose a color to highlight the individuals. I found it ironic that he used pink to outline the woman, as it is not a color that I would choose for her personality, but it does lull the reader into stereotypes, until she talks. Weeks’s work on this book is good. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue with a few sounds are the lettering contributions of Dexter Weeks and all are done fine. I wanted to see a different font employed when the chanting is done to make it more otherworldly, but what’s done is acceptable. Overall grade: B+

The final line: Too many things are left unanswered and I want more! I enjoyed this but need answers. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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