For a book that speaks of the fears of people, specifically those of the creative ilk, Henry has gone through some metamorphosis. Still, at the end of the day, can any good come from actions started on the foundations of fraud?
Henry has certainly been through the wringer. As he learns more about the Fearscape, he becomes more reliant on his Muse. Yet with her murder last issue, Henry is now at the mercy of the fears of the Fearscape and his own fears of authenticity, the latter he hides with hyperbole and rhetoric, that seemingly seeks to offer little clarity of purpose hidden within the psalms of confusion.
Ryan O’Sullivan has certainly planned an elaborate tale, with further twists and turns that may well leave you a little whip-lashed. That’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable read; it most definitely is. In Henry, O’Sullivan has a character who possess all the frailties of ego that you or I may enjoy (?). Henry may well feel that he has been slighted by everyone who could maybe help him, but having made his choice to impersonate the storyteller, he is facing the scary realisation that those who criticised him could have been right. Way outside his comfort zone he is facing the repeating of past mistakes. O’Sullivan’s dialogue hints at characters who know more about what is going on than they are letting on; though the narrators monologue can seem a tad pretentious at times, the combination makes this a hard jumping on point for new readers.
Andrea Mutti’s art is as splendid as in previous issues. Here, the familiarity of the Fearscape is challenged with the characters that are now on show. I especially love the Hero of a Thousand Faces who reminds me of the Man-E-Face character from He-Man, if he had a Mother Box for a head. The sketchy line work adds to the idea that we are between worlds, and at times, gives the impression that Henry isn’t quite all there; an idea that is also floated in the monologues especially given that Henry, a writer who is used to working on others works, may have no storytelling ability of his own. The painted styled colors by Vladimir Popov adds to the unsettling nature of the Fearscape. Andworld Design provides the lettering with some great design work across the range of characters.
If I had one complaint about Vault Comics it would be that unless you get into the book at the ground floor, you may find yourself a bit lost as you pick up separate issues, a problem that also faces These Savage Shores, which may work for trade paperback sales. Still, that is a publishing problem and one that needn’t worry O’Sullivan, Mutti and company as they continue their trek through the fears of Henry and quite possibly our fears also.