Written by: John Williams
Art by: Daniel Wong
Colours by: Nino Vecia
Letters by: Andrew A. Thomas
Cover by: Toma Feizo Gas
Published by: Joe Books
This November sees the return of Riftworld Legends for its fourth instalment. This issue sees Nino Vecia (colours) join the established team of Jonathan Williams (writing) and Daniel Wong (Art). Andrew Thomas (letters), Jukie Chan (flatter), and Toma Feizo Gas (cover) help to make up the rest of the team.
It is actually the artwork of Toma Feizo Gas which sets the scene for the story to come. Similar to the colour palette seen in issue 1, the cover of issue 4 is drowned in deep nightmarish tones and bursts of orange. As we begin to read, we see it’s this trade-off between action and mystery that makes issue 4 on par with the best that Riftworld Legends has offered so far.
When we last left our heroes in issue 3, we saw that in one timeline Fiona was preparing for her confirmation, but through her grandmother, only just beginning to understand the power she had at her disposal (and the threat that it posed!). In a separate timeline, Fiona’s ancestor Jackie was fighting for his life against a horde of monsters alongside shipmate Skillicorn, both of whom were marooned on a desert island. Finally, far away aboard the ship Jackie and Skillicorn had once served on, captive Thora was plotting her escape from the clutches of its vile captain.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Riftworld Legends, which I’ve mentioned more than once in my reviews, is how it balances pacing across these three viewpoints. Rather than deal with each separately, as many other fantasy comics opt to do, writer Williams weaves his plot wholly together, creating the ever-blurred effect of a story happening all at once. Of course, this comes in the form of Fiona’s grandmother recounting Jackie’s adventures to her, yet never once does this device feel forced. In fact, it’s the constant crossover between Jackie’s and Thora’s fight scenes which gives issue 4 in particular a unique energy.
In terms of artwork, Wong delivers again with more than a few fresh elements. First, there’s the use of character close-ups, which no doubts add to the emotion of scenes such as Skillicorn and Jackie trading the story of their lives over a campfire. Then, there’s the sheer force injected into the action shots, which are so vivid they simply ooze tension. Finally, there’s the compliment of colours, which more than any other issue of Riftworld Legends so far seem paired to the drawings perfectly. Issue 4 is in ways, a great deal darker than the other parts of Williams’ story. Perhaps that is why the artwork, free of the confines of a happy tale, feels so immersive and true-to-life.
As we reach the last page of issue 4, there’s every hint that this is the turning point for the series. For instance, the humour was still there in Jackie’s voice, but unlike the first three instalments, the sentiments were sadder. Perhaps that’s why Williams left each of our heroes in some sort of peril, as a sort of warning that the real action was yet to come. We’ll have to wait until issue 5 to find out!
Riftworld Legends #4 will be available in shops and digitally on November 22nd.