"Fearscape #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vault Comics
Written by Ryan O'Sullivan
Illustrated by Andrea Mutti
Colored by Vladimir Popov
Lettered by Andworld Design
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 26th, 2018
The question that is probably most asked of writers is how to do it. How do you write? It usually comes from an aspiring writer who has a bunch of ideas but has not yet put pen to paper out of fear. Henry Henry plays in that sandbox. He's an entitled plagiarist who thinks that all his ideas are better than what's actually out there in the world.
Under normal circumstances, he would just be washed out of the system sooner or later and no one would know or care. When he's mistaken for a great storyteller by The Muse, he's whisked away to the Fearscape to fight off fear itself on behalf of everyone on the planet. Considering Henry only thinks of himself and his own yearning for literary grandeur, this is going to get a bit rocky.
Fearscape sets a high bar right out of the gate as it challenges the medium itself, stretching it in new and interesting directions. Henry is telling this story and he's changing things as he goes to better suit himself. It makes for an intriguing and evolving reading experience.
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One thing that is absolutely clear from the jump is that Henry is a dick. You can't make it more than two pages through this book without wanting to strangle him. He's so pompous and arrogant and for no good reason. Although he's created nothing of substance, Henry believes that he's better than everyone else. He's like the personification of the Internet.
You wouldn't be able to tell how cocky Henry is based on his appearance. Artist Andrea Mutti draws him as this sloppy, disheveled mess, one step above a homeless person. He's often slouching and trying to stay under the radar. There's a great sequence where he's trying to avoid an encounter with some hoodlums and tries to put on a superior swagger and just looks ridiculous.
Where things really get going is when Henry goes to the Fearscape. This is a land of fantasy filled with all sorts of monsters. Mutti flexes his muscles here and draws the Hell out of these scenes. This is a world built of imagination and story, so anything goes. The place seems to grow and change based on who is walking through it.
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Colorist Vladimir Popov gives the Fearscape a very ominous look with lots of greys and dark blues. This is an eerie setting where the world could be saved or plunged into darkness. This contrasts well with the brilliant yellow of The Muse. She walks through this place like a shining beacon of hope.
The Muse's speech comes through in black word balloons and white text, the complete opposite of what everyone else has. Letterer Andworld Design makes this stand out and further distances The Muse from us mere mortals.
Fearscape has the vibe of a literary journey through Sandman. It seems to aim that high and so far, is sticking the landing. Writer Ryan O'Sullivan has made a despicable character and put him in a situation where he could save the world. I kind of want to see this jerk fail so he finally gets the comeuppance he deserves, but that would mean sacrificing an untold amount of lives. What a moral conundrum we've got here.