In Review: Robyn Hood #19

Enjoyable calm before the storm with the battle that begins excellent.

The covers: Six covers to find if you’re a completist, with three being exclusives. The first cover, the A, is by Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes. This features, from left to right, a big bruiser of a guy whose name I don’t know, Red Death, and Ivory. These are three of the villains that are part of the horde of foes that take on our heroes this month. This illustration nicely shows how each looks next to the other, and showing them from this point of view allows the reader to completely see them. The colors are nice, with the red that fades to a brown background putting some more threat into the visual. The B cover by Manuel Preitano is beautiful. It’s a shot of Robyn leaping in the air with her ready to release an arrow. She’s high off the ground between two buildings, but if one is not paying attention to the coloring one could miss that the circles make up a targeting scope from a weapon. Outstanding image with spectacular coloring. This is print and tee shirt worthy! The C cover is by interior artist Roberta Ingranata and colored by Vincinius Andrade. Marian Quin looks at the reader in a heated way; it could be desire or it could be fury about to be unleashed. What’s particularly interesting about this is that she’s covered with the same luminescent markings that her master, Avella, usually sports. Could that mean that Marian has attained the same level of power? Only by reading this book will readers be able to find out! There are also three exclusive covers. The first is a London Super Con Exclusive featuring a drop dead gorgeous illustration by Elias Chatzoudis of Robyn wearing almost all of the clothing associated with Sherlock Holmes. She’s holding his familiar pipe as she sits in a comfortable reading room; behind her is a window showing the sights of downtown London. This is an instant eye catcher and one to get your hands on if you’re lucky enough to cross the Atlantic! This edition is limited to 500 copies. There’s another exclusive version of this cover, limited to 100 copies, featuring the same artwork as the previous with one small deletion: Robyn is topless. Have at, collectors. There’s also a Secret Retailer Exclusive by Jason Cardy, but I couldn’t find any images of it, so good luck tracking that one down! Overall grades: A A-, B A+, C B+, and London Super Con — both A+

The story: Marian narrates the opening of the book, bringing the reader up to speed with the story: Avella, once Marian’s kidnapper and then mentor, has returned from the Myst, but she’s injured due to the recent loss of her familiar. Sam, Marian’s friend and lover, is trying to nurse the sorceress back to health. Nick, a walking corpse — but not a zombie — takes Marian outside so that she talk, since it’s obvious she needs someone to vent to. However, before she say anything, there’s a puff of red smoke near the house and Nick pulls his gun to go in and defend his friends. Thankfully, it’s only Hades, the boyfriend of Liesel Van Helsing, who’s returned because he sensed that she was worried. Marian looks for Robyn and finds her outside full of self pity and loathing, but Marian snaps her out of it with a good reality check speech, adding that she believes that tomorrow night the prophecy will come to light: “The Child of Darkness will rise…and lead the Dark Horde into glory.” This is what this series has been building to for a while and writer Pat Shand has a quick build up before the forces gather and the battle is engaged, and what a battle it is! I liked that Shand showed both sides preparing for the battle: I expected to get a good “rah rah” speech before the heroes went out, but I didn’t expect to see what was shown at the Mesopotamia. I was surprised to see one hero fall in battle, and the last page is nice “Whoa!” moment. Shand is speeding this story line to it’s conclusion and it’s a fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: There are a lot of long vertical panels in Roberta Ingranata’s work for this issue. It gives the book a cinematic feel, even if there’s nothing particularly epic going on. She’s able to get a nice subtle sense of movement between panels, such as between the third and fourth panels on Page 1, the last two panels on 6, and the third and fourth on 8. I also like that she included ovals for two panels featuring Liesel, on Page 7, giving an extra Steampunk flavor to that character. Page 17 has got a very different and very neat layout: seven circles to showcase the action, which lead to Robyn drawing an arrow. The page could have been accomplished with the traditional squares and rectangles, but the circles make the action seem much more fevered, as the reader’s focus is really sucked in to such small spaces. There’s also a particular well drawn panel looking down upon all the heroes on Page 11 that shows where everyone is in relationship to each other. It’s a quick scene, but shows the reader everyone present for the lowdown before the smackdown. Layout aside, Ingranata has got a really strong handle on the characters. She’s able to pull off a mood with just one shot of a character, such as the pair at the bottom of Page 2 and the pair on 3. The action is also well done, with different types, and sizes, of characters battling one another, and Ingranata makes it interesting. The deaths of two characters are handled very well, with both being visual shockers. The final page is a great visual that tells the reader that the torch has been passed, and not by choice. Overall grade: A

The colors: The first page is also a good place to see that colorist Slamet Mujiono has got a strong handle on the colors. Look at the nice, subtle fading and darkened of the teal that expands from the second panel to color all of this page’s borders. The coloring done on Marian’s top is really well done, and is not copied between panels, as shown in the third and fourth. There’s also some good work done on Sam’s familiar. The work done on Robyn’s hair is excellent throughout, with it looking sharp in close-ups. The best work is done on character’s skin, which must be incredibly difficult to do. Take a look at Robyn on Page 11 — it’s tops! Mujiono is acing this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Jim Campbell provides narration, dialogue, sounds, the story’s title, familiar dialogue, scene settings, growls, cries of pain, Red Death dialogue, a song, a character’s final, breathy words, and the tease for next issue. It’s always pleasing to see a letterer employ so many different types of font on a book, making the book more visually arresting. Campbell knocks it out of the park with the SNAP on 21. Overall grade: A

The final line: Enjoyable calm before the storm with the battle that begins excellent. Incredibly readable and enjoyable. Overall grade: A

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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