In Review: Robyn Hood #11

A telling story that convention goers can relate to, though the art needs more work.

The covers: A trio to collect, like any good fan would do. Mike Lilly, Devgear, and Brett Smith do the A cover. Robyn is falling out of a building, arrow nocked at her foe, with a hyena humanoid about to smash her with a gigantic war hammer. The action on this is great, with Robyn and the monster looking good, and the coloring being sharp. Robyn’s green togs and title stand out against the dirty brown debris cloud that the hyena has created. The B cover by Mike S. Miller and Wes Hartman is one I wish I could have found. It’s a photograph of the two leads posing outside of the New York Comic Con. I love that Marian is in the traditional con-girl pose sporting a peace sign, while Robyn looks as though she’d rather be anywhere else. The stance of each is telling and the coloring good, with the background being dulled to make the twosome the focus. How long before cosplayers try to reenact this pose? The C falls flat for me because it’s trying too hard. It’s by Ted Hammond and it’s a female Thor standing on the logo of the New York convention. This Thor is sporting a metallic bikini and high heels in addition to the usual God of Thunder costume. Nah. Comes off as wanting to be confused for the Marvel comic. Overall grades: A A, B A+, and C C-

The story: Robyn and Marian need money to pay for their rent, so they’ve been taking odd cases. Their newest client has got a doozy of a situation: his family was in possession of a cursed war hammer and they’ve sold it, making their woes (syphilis, rotting food, burning dog drool, and an unspoken affliction) worse. He thought selling it would cure them, but it hasn’t. The women go to Collectors Kingdom, a comic book store, where the client sold it. Robyn is not a master of haggling, “You can have a full refund and you can keep your teeth.” The owner, Jeff, has already shipped it off to the New York Comic Con, and the ladies have to go there to buy it. This is a smartly written story by Pat Shand, as having the action go to the con makes sense and it’s a terrific way to make commentary on conventions in general. “Robyn Hood & Marian Quin Go to Comic Con” is really funny. I’ve never been to the New York con, but I’ve been to San Diego often and I could relate to both characters. Hilariously, Marian plans what costume to wear, while Robyn is dreading every minute. Somehow, Marian gets Robyn to dress go in costume and it’s really funny. Pages 8 and 10 were laugh out loud funny, because any convention goer has spoken those lines or felt similarly. The villains are good; scary, yet typical minions. The conclusion to the tale is precise, while the last three pages deal with larger story arcs for two characters. This was entertaining in unexpected ways. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book are good, better than average, but not fully fleshed out. Roberta Ingranata does an excellent job on her characters. The first few pages show she can create good characters that can emote well, with the serious client and Robyn’s terrific reaction at the bottom of Page 1, Marian’s joy at the bottom of 2, and Robyn and Jeff on 3. Visually, a reader can understand what’s going on without the dialogue. This is what an artist wants to achieve with his or her art. When Marian’s possible choices for costumes are shown on Page 4 it’s terrific.  The hyenas look really well done. Even a quick close-up of one monster’s hands looks good; though what happened in the last panel on 19? It’s the settings where things fall. This occurs first on Page 2, panel three. The interior of the comic book store is a collection of squares that suggest books, rather than actual books. The last panel on 7 looks down on the floor of the heavily peopled convention. These aren’t fully illustrated people, they suggest people. It sticks out as unfinished art. Worse still is Page 10, which is a full page splash of the con: again the people are only suggestions, and the top quarter of the page is the ceiling. If the point of view had been lowered it might have been easier to illustrate the people and avoid that dead space at the top. When the fighting begins, and it’s a good fight, the settings disappear entirely. Ingranata has got the beginnings of a good comic, but not a complete one. Overall grade: C-

The colors: Slamet Mujiono has to fill in much of the empty backgrounds and does so well. In fact, Mujiono even has to create a horizon line for some of the panels because one hasn’t been drawn. In my opinion, this is going above and beyond what a colorist has to do on line work. In most of the panels backgrounds are colored with blends; usually a dark color at the top that goes lighter as it progresses to the bottom. This is a nice way to provide some variety in each panel, and Mujiono is also talented enough to know that if there’s something intense happening, the panels go a bright color to heighten tensions. There’s some really excellent shading of characters’ faces done on Page 20, especially in panels four and five. Other characters also are colored well, but this page really stuck out as superior. Mujiono did a great job. Overall grade: A

The letters: The narration, dialogue, signage, cosplay choices, the story’s title, and sounds were created by Jim Campbell. Having the narration and the dialogue in two different fonts is something that always makes me happy, and the font around the cosplay ideas cracked me up. I know what was being done with sounds during the fight, but some were difficult to read because of the font that was used. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A telling story that convention goers can relate to, though the art needs more work. Worth a look to see if others have felt the way you have at a convention. 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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