In Review: InSEXts #13

A jewel in storytelling, InSEXts succeeds with its characters and visuals in every possible way.

The cover: In an Art Nouveau style, the female protagonists walk their shared child through a beautiful garden. The wind slightly pushes at their hair as they stride forward. All seems serene, unless one look at the bottom of the illustration as several insects, considered to be frightening, are joining them in their jaunt. Another fantastic frontpiece from Ariela Kristantina. Overall grade: A+

The story: Lady Bertram and the Goddess battle over Phoebe who was turned to stone in the previous issue: the lady wants her returned to her old self, while the ancient ones wants her to remain in her rocky state. The Goddess’s power overwhelms Lady Bertram, pushed back by the powerful creature and that’s when Phoebe arrives. Last issue she was brought back to life by another’s sacrifice and she has been transformed. She is accompanied by several animals, many sharing aspects of several different creatures. “I have crossed the Threshold. My creations are beyond life and death, and made new creatures. They are revenants, and they are mine.” The creatures race to the Goddess and pin her to the ground and that’s when something surprising occurs. Pages 6 – 8 takes this battle into an unexpected direction and it was incredible. In most comics, the climax with the antagonist occurs in the final half of the book and the ending can only go so many ways. Writer Marguerite Bennett has the climax occur much, much earlier, and end beautifully. The closing narration on 13 and 14 is beautiful. The build up to this final blow out has been extremely violent, with characters dropping in horrific ways and to end this arc with such optimism and joy is an amazing feat for any writer. The epilogue has the survivors on their way to a new destination, with someone seeing something they shouldn’t. Again, the last three pages are so joyous and end in actions that are completely true to the characters. This was a spectacular ending. Overall grade: A+

The art: This series has made me a fan of Ariela Kristantina’s artwork. She can make the beautiful horrific and the terrifying elegant. The first page demonstrates this with Lady Bertram looking stunning, yet she has her insect arms revealed, slashing open a foe. The Goddess has been a Medusa-like creature, though on the second page she is fully revealed, and she has visually evolved far beyond that mythological being. Phoebe, in her new state, looks amazing, too, and her entrance is fantastic; the reader should take a look at the floor she’s crossing that illustrates how far his character has changed as well. Page 4 is full-paged splash that shows Phoebe’s new allies and they look great: familiar enough to spark recognition in the reader, but each with a slight difference to make the eye linger. A double-page splash is done on Pages 6 and 7, with eight smaller panels around the dominate image to show a change occurring. These panels create a terrific sense of movement to the actions. The reveal on 8 is another full-paged splash and is beautiful. The bottom third of the image show past elements of the character and they are an excellent choice to show the residual change. A fantastic visual payoff is on 14, with the insects perfection. The pages that follow are done from a particular point of view, making the reader a voyeur along with the character. The close-up at the bottom of 15 is great. The characters on 18 and 19 are perfect, recalling previous issues’ encounters. The final image of the book is outstanding: beautiful and terrible. I love the look of this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: An equally impressive element of this book are the colors by Jessica Kholinne. The violets and reds in the first two panels look sumptuous. The greens employed by the Goddess continue to give her an ancient and supernatural feel. The fourth page is cinematic with its coloring, as the light source is behind the characters, giving them a godly and unearthly feel. The colors of the new characters’ eyes also helps immensely in establishing their natures. Pages 6 and 7 has the top six panels in a different shades of reds, making the actions violent, the dominant character is in gold, and the final panel on the page is delightful in green, teasing what’s to be revealed on the next page. The next seven pages use several different shades of emerald for fantastic effects. The first panel atop 15 is excellent to establish a change in settings and to make the vessel extremely realistic. The oranges, browns, and reds on 18 and 19 work fantastically together, but the color that lingers in my mind is the green of the final page. This is an incredible job from Kholinne. Overall grade: A+

The letters: A Larger World is responsible for the lettering which includes scene settings, dialogue, the Goddess’s unique speech, yells, sounds, a character’s unique font that begins on 9, and whispers. The scene settings are perfect in every possible way: they are easy to read and their look captures the time period, allowing the reader to easily be transported to the era. The font that appears beginning on 9 is elegant and magical, matching the character’s likeness. The final two sounds of the book are the same word, but they are given different shapes and sizes because they are used for two different things. As with all other elements of this book, the lettering is tops. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A jewel in storytelling, InSEXts succeeds with its characters and visuals in every possible way. Horrific, empowering, and beautiful. A must-read for anyone that enjoys comics. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to http://aftershockcomics.com/on-sale-september-2017/

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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