In Review: Robyn Hood #20

A winning finale. This is how you close a book.

The covers: A final trio to collect for this final monthly issue. The A cover is by Roberta Ingranata and Ylenia Di Napoli. Robyn is walking to the reader, though that’s not a good thing: she’s surrounded by several misshapen insects and behind are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have appearing in a plume of grey smoke underneath a hellish red sky. This sets the tone well for what occurs in this issue. I like seeing Robyn clearly on this final issue, even if she has to be accompanied by such darkness. The colors allow for a smooth progression for the reader to start at the title, move to the red skies, down to the four monstrosities, before arriving on the brightly colored heroine. The B is by Manuel Preitano and has Robyn, Marian, and Nicky walking forward against a red and white city. Very stylish, very cool. Good to see Robyn with two of her most trusted allies on this cover. The final cover, the C, is by David Lorenzo Riveiro and Victor Bartlett. This is not a clear shot of Robyn, since it shows her backside, but it summarizes brilliantly the spirit of this character, looking down upon the city she protects. Great detailed illustration with sensational coloring. Overall grades: A A, B A, and C A+

The story: What a title – “F@#$ING RIOT”! And that’s exactly what writer Pat Shand has occur in this 42 paged finale to the series. The first page has Robyn narrate what’s led her to this moment in her life, with a strong focus on her best friend and ally, Marian. Speaking of whom, has always been a witch of considerable power, but with the death of her mentor Avella, Marian has acquired her powers and is considerably buffed up for magical combat. Using her new abilities, Marian transports all the good guys to the theater where the Cabal are holding several hostages to unleash the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Before they arrive, Brendan gains entrance to free the innocents, but is pistol whipped down by the leader of the evil group, his father. A verbal confrontation commences, where past sins are revealed, leading to terrible choices made in the present. The gang arrives at the theater and that’s when everything hits the fan. I was emotionally tuckered out by Page 20, and that’s when the Horsemen arrive. Characters live, characters die. No one is safe is this conclusion. I was exhausted by the time I was done and I was so satisfied with this story. Thank you, Mr. Shand. Overall grade: A

The art: The artwork of Roberta Ingranata has been continually growing on me as this series has progressed and I’ve really come to enjoy the emotions she puts into her characters. This is evident on the first five pages, with Robyn on the first page, the sixth panel on Page 2, the fourth panel on 3, and the outstanding close-ups on 4 and 5. She also is able to capture the conflict between Brendan and his father very well. I also enjoy seeing how Ingranata shows magic in this book, with it being violent, jagged, and harsh looking, which is so different from how magic is shown in other books. However, given what the magic is attempting to accomplish in this book, it shouldn’t be surprising, but it is. There are several action sequences in this book that, again, she handles very well; everything from magical altercations to fisticuffs, they all look great. There’s also an incredibly funny two panel sequence on Page 30 that made me giggle at the wrong time, but that’s exactly what the mood needed for what was transpiring. The final page is an excellent shot of the heroes for a final time that made me smile and feel more than a little melancholy for recognizing this was, indeed, the conclusion. As much as I enjoyed the visuals, there were several panels that did not work, and they are the ones that employed photographs for backgrounds. This occurred in the first panel of the book, again at the bottom of 3, and several times after this. It took me out of the book whenever they appeared. This was an unnecessary inclusion, as Ingranata has shown in the past that she can create good backgrounds. Overall grade: B

The colors: Excellent work on this issue from Slamet Mujiono. The first page shows how Mujiono expertly dims the colors to show when Robyn is describing an incident from her past, and brings them back up strongly when the present reappears in the bottom panel. Panels without backgrounds marvelous spring to life with appropriate hues to emphasize the text and the visuals, such as on Page 3 in panels one through four. Page 8 nicely goes to blacks and whites for another, different flashback sequence. Reds and all their variations are used perfectly on Pages 34 – 36 for a major climatic sequence. Mujiono’s talent really shines on Page 38 in a full page splash that encompasses a major moment in a character’s life; everything is fantastic. Overall grade: A

The letters: Jim Campbell creates narration, dialogue, story title, sounds, grunts, yells, Cabal speak, a handwritten letter, a unique font for each voice of the Horsemen, a spell, two words from a very important character on 38, and text on a business card. That’s a lot of warranted variations in the text and all are outstanding. Overall grade: A

The final line: A winning finale. This is how you close a book, with an “anyone can fall” mentality and excellent imagery, even if too many photographs are used for backgrounds. I’m already missing this book. Zenescope, thank you for the ride. 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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