In Review: Robyn Hood: The Curse #2

An enjoyable story with better than average art make this an okay read.

The covers: Four covers to find before opening the book for the frights. The A cover is by Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune. Robyn nocks an arrow at an unseen foe as blue energy bolts surge at her. This would be a generic cover were it not for the blue blasts. Robyn looks great and the coloring makes this very striking. The B by Julius Abrera and Ceci de la Cruz has three characters facing off in a back alley. Robyn emerges from the left in the foreground, ready to let loose an arrow at Sam, who is wearing a tight, revealing purple leather outfit, complete with cape. Violet circles of energy swirl about her hands as she looks to be powering up to blast Robyn. Marian is the final character, wearing a black leather outfit, her fists up to throw a punch at her lover. The layout has the characters really close to one another, leaving Marian cramped to fit in. The colors are bright, allowing the background walls to stay black. A decent cover. Vincenzo Federici and Nivangune have created the “good girl” cover for this installment, focusing on Sam. This C cover is on a white background, leaving purple clad Sam to really stand out. She’s wearing a tight leather purple outfit, holding the ends of her cape behind her. She has little skulls on her hips and her middle is exposed, from just below her navel up to above her chest. Sam is giving a smoldering look to the reader. Behind her is a odd trail of circular lime green energy. This is okay. The D cover is the one to track down. Caanan White and Hedwin Zaldivar have Sam, wearing the same outfit, in action, using her new abilities to fry someone that’s in the reader’s position. She looks ferocious, the energy flowing out of her awesome, and the flames coming off the unknown victim incredible. The coloring is also sensational. This is poster, print, and tee shirt worthy. Overall grades: A A-, B B-, C C, and D A+

The story: Robyn’s tooling through the streets of San Diego searching for Marian’s missing love Sam. Communicating through their phones, Marian tells Robyn that she’s getting a supernatural energy ping from a nearby location. She gives Robyn the address and the archer speeds that way. Outside a restaurant, Mr. Villariagosa gives his keys to a valet who quickly runs off. Realizing something is wrong, he pushes his date behind a car as gunshots blanket the area. Two skull-masked men are blasting at the car the victims are hiding behind. They yell in Spanish at their prey and seem poised for the kill shot until arrows hit each shooter in the hand. Robyn has arrived just in time. This action opening by writer Chuck Dixon doesn’t end well for Robyn, but someone gets her out of her situation. As she gets to learn more about Villariagosa, Sam is shown near Coronado Island, doing something terrible to a naval recruit. The story then turns to the detectives investigating the murder at the museum from the previous issue. Their interrogation of a suspect sets them up to intersect with another character soon. A building project is visited and should raise the hackles on every reader’s neck. The book ends with a surprise return that allows two characters to learn more about the supernatural threat of this series. It’s far beyond anything they have had to deal with before. The final panel of the book has a good surprise that will leave the title character and the reader slack-jawed until the next issue. A fun story, though most of it contains plot exposition. Overall grade: B

The art: Julius Abrera starts this issue sensationally with a fabulous full-paged splash of Robyn riding her hog on the streets of San Diego. She looks incredible and the bike looks great. This page is print, poster, and tee shirt worthy. The second page neatly establishes how Robyn communicates with Marian and what the latter is doing at home. Very smoothly done, with Robyn executing a fast turn to end the page. Villariasgosa and his date’s exit from the building is fairly dark for the first three panels on Page 3; it’s very difficult to make out the running valet. Better are the two panels that close out the page, with close-ups of the characters and the nice action at the bottom. The shooters on 4 are fierce looking and I like how three smaller panels are inserted over the lower half of the antagonists, implying that they are still walking forward as they shoot. Robyn’s arrival on 5 is perfect — that’s a hero’s entrance! The transition between the second and third panel on 6 is great, as no time needs to be wasted as to show what’s occurred. The close-ups on 7 are good, though the vehicle that Robyn leaps into at the bottom of the page looks too small to hold both individuals. The scenes at the naval base are too darkly colored to make out. The interrogation scene is composed well, with the point of view moving around constantly to make the visuals interesting; this is slick considering it’s just three characters sitting at a table. The structure on 14 is familiar and should make every reader’s Spidey Sense start tingling in danger. I like that it’s not shown again, unlikely dismissing it for a later issue. The arrival at the bottom of 17 is great, very active and surprising. The setting revealed on the next page is too empty on the walls. And it doesn’t come off crazed enough: everything is too equal distant from one another. I do like the splash on 21 which visually justifies all the building horrors. The final panel of the book is the perfect unsettling image. This leaves the reader thinking, ‘Now what?’ Overall grade: B-

The colors: The colors on this book are either spot on or too dark. The first page is beautiful with all the work that Robby Bevard has put into it. The violet night sky makes Robyn’s greens pop and the bright headlight and sparks from the wheels are excellent. The second page uses light blues perfectly to show the reader how the heroines are communicating. The first three panels on Page 3 are just too dark. Yes, it’s supposed to be dark, but they are really muddying the artwork. Better is the close-ups on the page and the gunshots. I like that the sound effects are colored the same shades as the bullets’ hits. There’s some solid color work on the shooters when they’re revealed, but the third panel is too dark. Lightening the sky would have made things not be so blended on this page and on 5. The colors on 7 are terrific, with the setting and the characters’ flesh perfect. When the book momentarily goes underwater, it’s again too dark, and the work done on 10 also too dark; better blending should have been done on the blues and the crimsons. The remainder of the book looks fine, with the highlight being the penultimate page which is bewitching in light violets. It’s those overly dark scenes, though, that hang over the reading experience. Overall grade: B- 

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios provides the text of this book which includes narration, dialogue, transmissions, sounds, yells, scene settings, and the tease for next issue. Esposito does his usual bang up job, which includes some very clever sounds as Robyn takes out the shooters; I especially like the placement of the THUNK that ends Page 5 — so clever and cool! The scene settings also impress with their sleekness and the arrows that accompany them. I love the lettering on this book. Overall grade: A

The final line: The background of the possible villain is the focus of this issue. The visuals are better than average, but do disappoint at times. I am loving the story and continue to enjoy these characters enough to return for the next installment. Things are going to badly for the heroes soon, I’m guessing. Overall grade: B

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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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