Isola #6 // Review
The immersive world of Isola continues into its second chapter with issue 6. Brenden Fletcher’s expansive fantasy journey trudges on with art beautifully brought to the page by Karl Kerschl and Msassyk. The second part of the story has a few reflective moments vividly contrasted against the lives of soldiers quite oblivious to the proximity of their queen in a story that maintains the sense of precarious danger in a gorgeous landscape.
Captain Rook journeys further with the Queen of Maar who is trapped in the form of a massive tiger. Shuddering from a nightmare, Rook leads the queen off to the edges of a military encampment. A search for provisions with friendly forces could get complicated if Rook is identified. She must tread lightly if she is to get the supplies she needs to lead the queen where she needs to go to reverse the curse.
Fletcher balances the issue half in dream and half in danger. The dream is brought to the page in many shades of blue accompanied by little dialogue. Things get considerably more talkative in the second half as Rook sneaks around amidst soldiers engaging in breakfast. It’s remarkable how little world-building Fletcher is engaging in. Having firmly established the drama and politics of the immersive fantasy world in the prologue, Fletcher has allowed the silent wonder of the world develop with the artists.
Kerschl and Msassyk really know how to fill a panel. The world of Isola is brimming with subtle shades of personality that welcome many, many readings. The fact that they manage to do this without cramming the page with too much detail is its own kind of miracle. Every page carries drama and tension without a whole lot of expression on the faces of the characters. The most expressive face in the book is that of the Queen herself...a tiger incapable of speech. Her entire emotional state need s to read on her face and it DOES without looking goofy or cartoonish. This is also quite an accomplishment.
The backgrounds deliver a great sense of immensity and perspective about the story. The world of Isola is its own reality and probably the single most prominent character in the entire book...a situation which is by now very, very firmly established as the story enters its second chapter. It’s worth noting that the world is the same in the nightmare as it is in the waking world. The fantasy being conjured here is a very real and earthbound one which maintains the same sense of naturalism in dream that it does in the waking world.
The gradual journey that Flestcher, Kerschl and Msassyk is pretty remarkable. The story moves slowly without detracting from its power. The slow movement locks in a sense of mystery about the world that’s being presented. Once again Fletcher and company present another corner of a story that appears to be brimming with potential life resting on the horizon of the next issue.