In Review: Robyn Hood: The Hunt #4

A disappointing installment that's hurt by the visuals.

The covers: Robyn sits in a tree with an arrow nocked to take down any foe who’s trying to catch her. This is a terrific A cover from Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune. Robyn looks great and her surroundings are exceptional, with the coloring being fantastic. This is a winning cover! The B is by Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes and it’s a tremendously detailed cover with Robyn entangled in Bailey. The villain is doing his best impersonation of Swamp Thing as his vines seeks to capture the hero. Robyn looks great, with enough of her showing and not overwhelmed by the villain. The coloring also has her standing out. Nicely done. Julius Abrera and Ula Mos are responsible for the C which is the frontpiece I selected to accompany this review. Zoe, Robyn’s cellmate, is shown using her abilities to disarm some off panel characters. She looks great, with the magic being expertly highlighted by the coloring. Beautiful. The D cover is by Antonio Bifulco and Grostieta. The Executioner has his massive ax swung behind his shoulders so that he may deliver a killing blow to Robyn who kneels before him with a hand raised, pleading for mercy. Good artwork is lost in spots because of the coloring: the top left, the bottom right, and the middle of the image. Less browns would have differentiated this more. Overall grades: A+ A, B A-, C A, and D B-

The story: New York in the summertime. There’s no place like it, especially if you’re Robyn Locksley and you’re trying to work on a tan. Atop the city’s many buildings, Robyn is relaxing in a bikini. The sun suddenly gets blocked out and Robyn wonders why she feels so distant. She closes her eyes then opens them to remember the reality of her situation: she’s being smothered by the growing vines of criminal Bailey. He tells her to stay still, “It’ll be over soon.” Robyn thinks otherwise and pulls a knife and stabs the highborn, again and again and again…Finally he releases her, begging her not to kill him. She pulls her blade and does something that most people wouldn’t. Free, she continues to make her way, avoiding those chasing her. Working from a story by Joe Brusha, writer Latoya Morgan has several neat scenes that don’t focus on Robyn, instead shifting to the villains pursuing her, who aren’t exactly getting along. One of the prisoners being used in chasing the hero plants some seeds of doubt into Miller. I enjoyed that and what eventually happened. The Executioner and his team are also shown looking for the hero. They come upon an obstacle from last issue and they deal with it much differently than Robyn did. When the story returns to Robyn, she encounters a familiar face who has quite the surprise for her. This installment nicely continues run with the villains licking her heels. Very enjoyable. Overall grade: B

The art: There are some visuals that are strong, while others are not. Artist Daniel Mainé set up the first page nicely with Robyn getting a tan, beginning with a neat skyline of New York. The surprise that Robyn shows on the bottom three panels is also well done, and with the turn of a page the peril that she’s in is also good. It’s the large final panel that’s not working: there’s dead space to the left of the smaller three panels inserted — they could have been moved further to the left to allow the reveal of the villain to be better. Instead, he comes off as a voracious plant, not a humanoid. The violence of the third page becomes too random because the panels are too close to the action. They fit thematically with the splatter panels between them, but a reader has no way of knowing where Robyn is striking Bailey. The fourth panel on Page 4 is also a puzzler: the visual doesn’t communicate why Robyn said that, even with the action in the fifth panel. The two panels that follow have the villain’s sense of scale lost because, again, of the close-ups. Better is the full-paged splash page on 5 that shows Robyn heading further into the forest. Pages 6 and 7 seem as though they were done by a different artist because there are some incredibly fine lines in the artwork that weren’t present on the previous pages. The characters are also very round and smooth. The final setting that Robyn enters is very rough, with thick lines. This is in complete contrast to the character work on the final three pages which, again, have very thin lines. Several backgrounds are also unnecessarily blurry. This could have been done by Mainé or the colorist; regardless, they stand out poorly. Mainé has done much better than this in previous issues.  Overall grade: C- 

The colors: Leonardo Paciarotti’s work has also been better in earlier installments. The first page starts well with a bright day in the Big Apple and by the last panel transitions into the cool greens of the forest. The coloring on the vines encasing Robyn are difficult to make out because the colors blend together too much. The close-ups on the third page don’t help Paciarotti’s work either, though the splatter effect does come off well. The colorist seems to be finishing off the look of the antagonist on the fourth page because there’s not enough line work to define the character. The splatter on Robyn on Page 5 is fine, but is too random: for example, look at the red splotch at the bottom of her bow that continues onto her costume — it’s just blanketed onto the artwork without any sense for depth. The sky is pretty on the page at least. The lighting on the pursuers is odd: look at how it’s line work on Page 6, but becomes a computer smear on 7. There’s no rhyme or reason for this change up. I would have preferred to see the colors not blurred for the background on 10 because they’re distracting from the character. The coloring on the final page is all over the place: computer effect for explosion, flatly colored debris, and violet overdose in the third panel. This wasn’t a good looking job. Overall grade: D+

The letters: Narration, screams, a unique font for Bailey’s speech, dialogue, scene settings, whispers, and sound hail from Ghost Glyph Studios’ own Taylor Esposito. Making the narration visually different from the dialogue is always a good thing, and making one of the highborn’s speech a unique font adds to that character’s exotic nature. The scene settings are exciting looking, with their bold, slanted letters appearing speedily. Esposito’s contributions are good. Overall grade: A

The final line: A disappointing installment that’s hurt by the visuals. The story is fine as the chase continues, but readers will stumble over the art more so than Robyn through the foliage. I’m hoping for better in the next issue. Overall grade: C+

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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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