Review: Rapture #3
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Cafu and Roberto De La Torre
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
A friend recently asked my why every Valiant release gets referred to as the the comic event of the year. I thought for a second and realised that anyone who followed Valiant’s releases would never have asked that. Valiant Entertainment has found the comic book holy grail; a heady mix of stand-out artists at the top of their game, viciously clinical writers rolling out mind-altering concepts and platforms, and packaging that leaves the beholder knowing they’ve got a book that transcends the word ‘entertainment’ and crosses into ‘art’. But just how sustainable is this approach? The release of the second run of Britannia, the Russian themed Divinity III, and the who’s who cast of Rapture suggest an emphatic ‘yes’. And it’s the latter title where I draw my focus, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of picking up the series yet, Rapture is proving to be every bit as epic as its promotional material had us believe.
Issue #1 led us by the hand to The Deadside; a nether-world where the deceased, the astral voyagers and geomancers alike, trawl the spectral terrain for answers; a hostile environment where grotesque lifeforms dominate and only the expertly-versed can negotiate survival. The Deadside. A world that smells of burning eggs. This is where Kindt (Sweet Tooth, Ninjak) opened this much anticipated short run. He brought together the time-travelling geomancer Tama, Ninjak, Shadowman and Punk Mambo, on a quest to help battle a foe named Babel who ultimately wanted to overrun heaven. In this issue, Babel outlines his origin to Shadowman, surreptitiously desiring to use him for his own gains. The book begins with this origin story, as if we ourselves were the audience to Babel’s intimate horror story. The tale is regaled as a series of flashbacks and CAFU’s art here really stands out with dulled hues and scuffed edges and outlines. This has the effect of giving a grainy, nightmarish feel to the sequences, and the ghost-like Loa appearing only further cements this. Babel himself is depicted as an ambitious sorcerer who offends the gods, leaving him to walk a tortured path. The tortured are often the most dangerous characters personifying desperation and the desire for deliverance.
Whilst Babel is seducing Shadowman, the rest of the assemblage encounter a host of scrapes on their way to reconnect with their comrade. Here, Kindt builds suspense with foreboding dialogue which soon turns to pacy and dynamic, in order to mirror the ensuing action. CAFU’s dream-like landscapes make way for clean, realistic sequences, where clever lettering allows for speech boxes shaped to fit the howls of the attacking hellion. Something else notable is the contrast between the dark hues of the tower and the plasmic flashes of otherworldly sorcery; this creates a kinesthesis that lesser artists may miss. This is clever stuff. And it leads beautifully to the climax, which may have the effect of leaving you struggling to envisage a positive subsequent outcome for the fellowship.
All in all, yet another strong issue in the run. Measured storytelling, flexible, pragmatic artwork, and a clinical cliffhanger; what more could we want? Well, I’ve got a feeling that even though we don’t realise it yet, we’re going to get more than expected in the finale.
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Review written by Arun S.
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