In Review: Oberon #5

The series ends, but Oberon's plans are only beginning.

The cover: Oberon is in crimson and is upside down as he uses his magic to battle Puck, who is in blue and also upside down. Right side up is Nicholas who is casting a spell to protect Bonnie from two Nevermen as she scrambles up some stairs. I like the energy on this cover and seeing magical characters askew compared to more normal characters is always a cool idea. Artist Milos Slavkovic makes this look great. The characters and colors are awesome and shows the reader what’s in store for them if they dare open this book. Overall grade: A

The story: Puck, Oberon’s former servant, has appeared before his ex-master on behalf of Titania, Oberon’s former wife. Puck is there to kill the King of the Fairies for stealing the Lovet — Bonnie. After Oberon is punched to the ground he reveals, with a smile, that she’s not the Lovet. Meanwhile, at the Immortal Masquerade, Nicholas and Bonnie are dancing until a cloaked figure appears and everyone else disappears, at least to Bonnie. This tall masked character, a Neverman, calls her name and she drifts over to him. After a quick, mysterious exchange, the Neverman reaches out to her, but Nicholas calls her name and the threatening character disappears and everyone else reappears. This pair search for Oberon to report what’s happened and that’s when the action of this book really kicks in from writer Ryan Parrott. There’s a great reveal on Page 8 that changes one character dramatically. The book’s climax occurs on 14 which also changes a character dramatically. Without spoiling things, I’m glad that Parrott had the taller character do this, as it reminds the reader about this individual’s true nature. Each issue of this series has shown how this character has a different face for each character, but only the reader is privy to the truth. It was a brilliant and equally horrifying action. The final three pages aren’t really a conclusion, but a promise that things are only starting for the title character. So this series ends, but doesn’t really end because the ultimate goal of Oberon isn’t achieved. This was a bit frustrating because I do want to see how this plays out. Because of this non-ending, this final issue leaves me mildly disappointed. Another series from AfterShock would fix this (he added hopefully). Overall grade: B

The art: Milos Slavkovic’s visuals are amazing. The book opens with Puck walking horizontally up a pillar, reminding me of the effect for Jareth in the climax to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. The linework on the next two pages is good, but doesn’t appear as detailed as earlier issues: take a look at the first three panels on Page 2, as well as the final panel. The final pair of panels on 3 are much better. Even better is the return to the Immortal Masquerade which features much more completed characters. Blair looks fantastic and the Nevermen looks great. The costume work on Bonnie and Nicholas is outstanding. Page 8 is a major payoff page with an action that changes the direction of this book. Something has been stated about a character often, but seeing this action used really solidifies how important this individual is. The sorrow in the third panel on 10 is also great — and an excellent visual payoff after the event from 8. There’s also a great emotional response on 11, this time focusing on a secondary character. Page 14 is a full-paged splash and it’s a killer moment, though the linework is very loose when it comes to the means with which the action was delivered; I had to stop in my reading to understand how it was accomplished. The fourth panel on 15 is my favorite of the book with book characters looking exceptionally intense, though in different emotional states. It’s an excellent payoff after four issues with this pair. The intensity of the character at the bottom of 18 and start of 19 is wonderful. This is a “the die has been cast” moment that will doom, or perhaps, save an individual, but unquestionable foreshadows trouble. The last page shows where the cast is at this conclusion. They look fine, but the final image of the book is the best, visually summarizing the title character perfectly. Overall grade: B+

The colors: An exterior setting begins this book. The colors are slightly darker that the interior pages, but colorist Leonardo Paciarotti doesn’t make them abysmally dark so that the art is overwhelmed. The stonework is especially well done on these pages. Notice how the colors go to orange and red for the background for the fifth panel on the second page to accentuate the punch Oberon receives. Plus, the sound of the punch is in a bright yellow to add to the explosive action. Oberon stands out strongly in all of his panels because of his red jacket. The violets for the Masquerade is a terrific otherworldly color for the setting and note that this color is also used for the mask of the Nevermen. Bonnie’s yellow dress has her stand out as much as Oberon does due to his clothing’s colors. The white and blue on 8 is a strong choice for a strong action. Violets return for the interior’s of Oberon’s home, again an otherworldly tone is created. The bright red sound on 14 is a perfect match for what’s occurring. I like how the dawn is clearly shown through colors throughout Pages 16 – 19, with the setting now going a light brown. Overall grade: A

The letters: Charles Pritchett creates scene settings, dialogue, Oberon’s narration, sounds, a scream, and yells. The scene settings uses capital letters that are slightly stretched out with each protrusion having a slight point, giving them a fanciful look, with just a suggestion of menace. The dialogue is a very stylized font that’s incredibly easy to read, but looks very formal, which befits these classic characters. The sounds are big for large actions, as is the scream that’s uttered on 8. Oberon’s narration is tiny and uses lower cases letters, reinforcing his fae background. I love Pritchett’s work on this book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The series ends, but Oberon’s plans are only beginning. The non-ending nature of this issue hurts this series overall. There’s some really good stuff here, but to stop now is a crime. The visuals are better than most books, but are a little looser than previous issues. The colors and lettering are strong. I enjoyed this, but not as much as previous issues. That said, I would buy a sequel series/issue in a heartbeat. AfterShock, make this happen! Please! Overall grade: A-

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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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