In Review: Insexts #6

No other book is as terrifying and beautiful. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: The villainous Hag dominates the cover by Ariela Kristantina, with colors by Bryan Valenza. The antagonist’s supposed beauty disappears at her hands, which have turned into cruel bird-like talons. One of those hands seeks to capture Mariah, who is running to assist her love, Lady Lalita Bertram. The Lady is unconscious and is tumbling to the floor. What hope do these two have in defeating this supernatural creature? And why hasn’t Bertram transformed into her Insexts persona? Absolutely sumptuous design work from Kristantina, with gorgeous work on the Hag, especially on her clothes and feathers. The colors are great. I thought that the villain would eclipse the heroines on this book, but Valenza gives them the brighter colors, drawing the reader’s eye to look at their states, while darker colors are given to the baddie. Another stunning cover. Overall grade: A+

The story: This is the first time this series has opened with one of the heroines in danger. Lady Bertram appears to be hanging from cobwebs, her mouth is open with some type of plant or chitinous-like material emerging from it and dangling down to her sternum. Her chest is covered in blood and her eyes make it seem as though she has no hope. She does not speak, but the Hag does. “Lady…? …Lady Lalita Bertram. Listen to me, Lalita Bertram…listen to me…or I will eat your lover in front of you…and you will lap up from the floor whatever pus and sludge remains.” Writer Marguerite Bennett has put her lead in the absolutely worst possible situation. How she got in this situation is shown on Page 2: she, Mariah, and William go to the House of Madame H, a bordello, to confront the creature and find out what she is doing. The house is a source of all forms of sexual pleasure and deviancy if the price is right, and William’s money is more than adequate to rent the entire house. Once upstairs, the trio finds they have an ally within, who tells them how the Hag took control of the house and changed its purpose. Page 14 has the Hag revealing her true face to the characters and the reader, and in the process show how she is able to control the women. If the reader thought that this would be a quick engagement, 16 shows that the Hag is no pushover: she not only is monstrous, but her words are absolutely vile. She speaks no profanities, but says things that instantly cut a character’s heart, rendering them psychologically unable to battle her. This was impressive stuff from Bennett. Often in comics, a confrontation is a slugfest. I really appreciated seeing how one’s words can bring a character to his or her knees. This is terrific writing and shows the immense power of the villain. There’s a great shock on 18 that seems to hint at the end, but is only the first move in a larger battle. I loved this Insexts. Overall grade: A+

The art: The first page of this book, illustrated by Ariela Kristantina, is a full paged splash of Lady Bertram looking as if she’s moments from death. As the reader looks upon this page, the eye goes from a beautiful hat and lovely face, to something alien protruding from the character’s mouth, ending in a splash of blood on her chest. It’s a startling, grisly, and powerful image. The story allows Kristantina to take things in a different direction with the setting and activities of the second page: the Bertram mansion where members of the Cynos are casting a spell to keep the heroes safe. Page 3 is a full page splash showing what one would see upon entering Madame H’s House: a beautiful interior of wood and erotic paintings, with several lovely masked women waiting to be chosen on the stairs. In the center of these women is Madame H herself. The dresses that some of the women are wearing are draped over the stairs and its rails. Madame H’s eyes instantly set her apart from other characters. Her partial reveal on 7 shows her horrific mouth, but 12 shows her to be the monstrosity that earlier issues of Insexts have shown. However, even this is not her real appearance; Page 14 shows how she really looks and she’s something out of an H.P. Lovecraft nightmare. Insect, cephalopod, or something else entirely — the Hag is a monster in every sense of the word. Kristantina doesn’t just show the Hag from one point of view, she continues to move the reader around all the characters, even showing this monster’s back — and it’s as gross as her front side. 16 shows one character’s fall before the Hag and it’s a terrific combination of memories and horrors. The action atop 18 is gory, but how else was Lady Bertram to escape? The last two pages are full page splashes, echoing the actions on 16, but now from another’s perspective. I am continually impressed with how Kristantina can make such horrors so beautiful to behold. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jessica Kholinne takes over coloring credits for this issue and she maintains the high standards that have previously graced this series. Notice how Kholinne manipulates the reader’s emotions on the first page: starting with a calm green and soft blue at the top of the image, the reader’s eyes then fall upon the warm flesh of the Lady, only to come upon the foreign greens and the vivid crimson on her chest. This pages goes from warm to deadly with just a gaze. The reds and orange-browns on 3 are beautiful, and mark this location as a house of ill repute. The flashback is tinted in pale pea green, making the proceedings sickening. With her true self revealed on 14, the backgrounds for the Hag take on a violet shade, giving it an air of the otherworldly. The final page uses faded colors, emphasizing faded memories and a fading life. Kholinne assists the visuals magnificently. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, singing, the speech of transformed Cynos, screams, and the tease for next issue are crafted by A Larger World. The font used for the scene settings helps sets the time period for the reader, the Cynos’ speech is delightfully dark, and the screams piercing, such as the one found at the top of 18. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Insexts #6 is my highest possible recommendation of the week. No other book is as terrifying and beautiful. 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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