In Review: Robyn Hood #13

An excellent story with adequate visuals.

The covers: A trio to shoot for if you’re a collector. The first cover is the A and it’s by Jamal Igle, on pencils, and Brett Smith, on colors. Liesel Van Helsing and Robyn are back to back in a setting that appears to be a cathedral due to the architecture. Liesel has crossbow and stake ready while bats fly behind her, and Robyn has her bow in her hand. As she peels off her hood, doves fly about her. Great pairing and layout, though there’s something about their faces that doesn’t look right — they’re just a bit off. The coloring is fine, with a nice mist effect at their feet. The B is by Roberta Ingranata and Alessia Nocera. This is a very stylized cover from a very unusual angle. A female vampire is drinking from the neck of reluctant man in a bedroom, with both of them moving to the floor as she’s quenching her thirst. High in the right, Robyn is seen watching this event. It’s a bit difficult for me to make out the position of the couple’s bodies in this image. The C is the image I used for this review, but it must be seen in its entirety to be truly appreciated. Drawn by Maria Laura Sanapo and colored by Victor Bartlett, Robyn is in the top half of the image, with an arrow nocked and her cape splayed out behind her fantastically. She looks terrific! Even better is Liesel in the foreground. She’s leaning to the left to shoot a target with the bolt in her crossbow. Liesel looks beautiful and strong. This is the cover to get! Overall grades: A B, B C+, and C A+

The story: Pat Shand’s “Keep It Safe” opens with an obscured male writing something on a wall with a paint brush dripping in red. As the image pulls back, the man pulls out his cell phone to take a picture of his work. As the flash goes off, the fangs in his mouth and red eyes can be seen. He’s putting his picture on Instagram, which is revealed to be a recently killed man — his throat slashed and blood on him and massing on the floor. The red paint is the man’s blood used to write out the title of this story. The scene then moves to Robyn and Marian’s apartment where a party is occurring. Marian is leaving with her friend to work on a spell to sever her tie to her former mentor Avella, so that she can restore her magical abilities. They leave and party guest Liesel and Robyn have a brief conversation about the pair, as well as Van Helsing’s love life. The place empties and Robyn is alone when she receives a message on her phone. She’s told to check out what’s trending on Twitter, Robyn checks it out, and sees the picture as well as another. She wants to stop whoever is doing the killing, since there’s more than one. Robyn rings up Liesel and the two team-up to stop the killer. This was a really fun tale. I loved the banter between the two heroines and how Marian was doing something she didn’t want to tell Robyn about; obviously this is going to lead to a very bad situation. The women end up in the lion’s den to fight the villains, but something is revealed on Page 14 that changes things considerably. Just as it seems the twosome will get out of this conflict, the issue ends on a slick cliffhanger. Shand knows how to tell a story well. Overall grade: A 

The art: This is a decent job by Roberta Ingranata. The opening page is a nice cinematic scene as the writing slowly gives way to revealing the writer, and teases what’s he taking a picture of, before being fully shown on Page 2. This page is fine, but it’s not very detailed. The writing on wall does not match the writing on the first page, such as on the letter s, and the victim is simple. It’s also difficult to discern where all the blood is coming from: the body is sitting in a pool of its own life fluids, but the only evident wounds are on his neck and chest. How did all that blood get under him? The keys at the bottom of the screen look like drawings. The party at the apartment looks better, with several characters in a cramped space. Robyn, Marian, and Liesel look good, and better in close up. The fifth and sixth panels on Page 4 do not look good: the first is set up awkwardly for the text balloon, which should have been placed higher, and the second is an odd angle that makes everything look too neat after the gathering. The supernatural character on 5 is terrific, and the layout on 6 is awesome — I really like the use of circular panels to tell the story. Starting on 7 Ingranata draws Robyn in panel six from a particular angle with her hair flowing. This exact image is drawn over and over again. Ingranata does a good job at it, but she uses it so often it looks like a cut and paste, but it’s not. She’s got to mix is up more. The same thing occurs with Liesel: check for yourself — How many panels is she holding that crossbow upright with an attitude? Too many. Things are better with Marian’s two pages, which are sinister and full of magic. The blonde female antagonist that appear on the penultimate page is cross eyed in the third panel. Ingranata is a roller coaster on this issue. Overall grade: C

The colors: For such a dark story and violent images, the colors by Slamet Mujiono are bright. The blood on the first two pages rightly shines starkly, Liesel’s hat stands out brightly for its reds, and Robyn’s emerald top is terrific. The supernatural character that appears on 5 has a really cool coloring job that gives it a lot of texture. Pages 10 and 11 have the best coloring because of what’s on Marian and the magical energies that appear on 11. Overall grade: A+

The letter: Instagram font, dialogue, Twitter text, sounds, a song, ancient text on 11, and a website’s text are created by Jim Campbell. I like when computer text appears in a comic, because it’s become so dominant in society, and it’s so different from dialogue. The really superior element created for this issue was on 11. I am in heaven when bizarre text is shown, and it most definitely is here. Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent story with adequate visuals. Who doesn’t love a vampire story that goes wonderfully wrong? 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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