Art: Fares Maese
Letters: Wes Locher, Erica J Heflin, Weston Design Studio
Logo: Jim MaQuarrie
Editor: James O'Callaghan
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Release date: December 30th 2015
It's New Year's Eve and I spent a good part of the day, in between tending to my five month old child's needs, reading The Black Hand, and I loved it.
The Black Hand is an exciting, action filled romp that tells the story of Victoria Addair, who is left with a black hand that has the power to vanquish the undead, after a childhood brush with death. She is taken in by the order of the black hand. Brash, headstrong and with a vicious sword arm, Victoria is sent to investigate the grey boy, a ghost who is terrorising a mountain community. Victoria soon discovers that everything is not as it seems and the secret of the grey boy could have dire consequences for the whole land.
Sounds gripping right? Well it is. I read this in good time, not just speed reading, but soaking up each panel and page like a delicacy. Heflin's script it tight and the book is plotted well, sitting each page with intrigue enough to keep you turning the pages.
There is a continuous thread of suspense woven into the script that builds toward a spectacular finale.
There is the occasional line of stereotyped dialogue but unless you're activity looking for it, it's difficult to find.
The artwork is sublime and Maese gives us a beautiful paradigm of storytelling through sequential art, each panel is vivid, organic and alive. Now each of the four chapters is drawn and coloured in a different style. I have to admit I was worried that this could make the whole book feel a little disjointed, or a little clunky, but it doesn't. It actually helps the pace and rhythm of the story, and feels like each chapter is seen through a fresh pair of eyes.
The great thing about the book is that you can feel the partnership between Heflin and Maese throughout, the pages almost drip of the synergy of a great partnership. This is a prime example of a writer and artist working together brilliantly.
This will be the last comic I read before 2016 and I'm so glad I chose The Black Hand. It's fantastic little fantasy and adventure comic that mixes it's elements of horror and mystery into its pages well. Sure they are deeper meanings that resonated with me, I mean the lead character is a strong, independent woman so the message of equality is apparent. But you can take from comics what you will, this is a brilliant comic with a deeper message, and it's also one hell of a fun read.
Happy new year everyone. Wishing you all prosperity and joy.