In Review: World Reader #4

No other book captures the wonders and horrors of space like World Reader. Recommended.

The cover: Sarah is trapped in the spirit realm. She screams as her limbs are warped to inhuman lengths as a monstrous specter opens its maw to engulf her. Sensational frontpiece by interior artist Juan Doe. This image summarizes a key scene from this issue. Outstanding. Overall grade: A

The story: Harris has gone after Sarah and found her on another dead alien world. After sharing a kiss, the two make their way to a structure with a familiar symbol on it. For readers that are new to the series, Harris brings them up to speed with his dialogue that’s atop Page 3: “Just so I’m not lost — we’re looking for evidence of a planetary serial killer that only you can see when you’re talking to space ghosts?” The two enter the building and come across a construction in the center of the structure that rises hundreds of feet high and looks to made of bodies. The symbol that was outside the building stands top the totem pole of corpses. Without willing herself into the Ether, Sarah’s word for the ghost world, spirits appear around her. She falls to her knees, overwhelmed by the entities. Harris tells her, “Look. No one else can do what you do. This is why you’re here. You can run…or you can own it.” His words give her the confidence to take control of the moment and she allows all the ghosts to enter her soul so that she can hear each of their stories. One individual stands out and she approaches him so that he can tell her what happened on this world. Jeff Loveness takes this series into a new direction with Sarah now feeling in more control of her abilities and it opens her, and the reader, up to new experiences. Page 9 teases a reason as to why the killer is destroying worlds, with 12 having Sarah do something very surprising. Her confidence on that latter page is outstanding. Another tease occurs on 15, before going very, very dark. The final page has the pair of protagonists going elsewhere to take a look at something they’ve been searching for. I love this story’s mysteries and I love the character growth. Overall grade: A

The art: The first page has artist and colorist Juan Doe putting the characters in a classic fairy tale setting, a dead forest where a castle lies. Though this is an alien world, the setting definitely has that feeling. Page 2 is a full-page splash that has Sarah and Harris looking upon the alien construction. It’s familiar enough to resemble an ancient castle, but looks wholly unearthly. The totem pole in the center of the structure is Lovecraftian — it’s something unnatural on any world. The spirits that surround and overwhelm Sarah look like enlarged angry versions of the stereotypical grays that abduct farmers. When Sarah masters her fears on Page 5, the aliens become versions of The Scream by Edvard Munch, continuing their frightening visages, but making them small before the human. The two page history of the world is amazing in the amount of time it covers and the power it conveys. The arrival of the killer is a full-page splash and he continues to be a horror as he feeds on the remains of others. 12 is outstanding confrontation with the colors making this most cosmic encounter on a page since Jack Kirby worked at Marvel. The antagonist gets some amazing panels to emote, making him a much deeper character, especially on the final page. The colors need some mention for boosting the emotion of every page. Deep purples are used for the alien setting, oranges are used for the alien spirits, and grotesque greens for the killer. This book’s visuals are outstanding. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dave Sharpe creates dialogue and narration (the same font), yells, and sounds. I prefer dialogue and narration to be different fonts, but they’re differentiated by their balloons and boxes. The yells and sounds are stellar, and are Sharpe’s specialties. Take a peek at the one at the bottom of Page 16. This sound solidifies this book’s standing as an epic tale. Overall grade: A

The final line: No other book captures the wonders and horrors of space like World Reader. The story thrusts the reader not only into space, but the supernatural realm, where a monster consumes the dead. Mesmerizing story and art. Absolutely recommended. 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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