Guest Writer: Stonie Williams
Writer/Artist – Steve Skroce
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Lettering and Design – Fonografiks
“Our beloved Maestro has been murdered.” The Wizard King who ruled The Realms is dead. His wives and children have all been wiped out along with him. The only ones left behind are his ex-wife Margaret and their banished son, Will. Having divorced her husband, Margaret wasn’t there during the attack. Upon finding out that her son was the last of the Kahzar bloodline, Margaret seeks out Will to bring him safely back to his father’s land. Will, now an adult, has been banished back to the place he grew up, to the birthplace of his mother – Earth. Margaret must find Will before the murderous wizard Mardok does and finishes what he started with Will’s father.
When I finished this book I sat back in my chair and just stared at the last page. It took me a moment to find words. The first words that came to mind were “Ho. Lee. Crap.”
It’s amazing books like this and a ton of others coming out of Image comics that prove over and over again that comics are a medium, not a genre. They’re not just for superheroes. Creators are using this medium to tell some amazing stories and bring beautiful visuals that you just can’t get from any other medium.
But I digress. Back to the issue at hand. Pun intended. Maestro is an attention grabber from page one. The visuals alone are nearly overwhelming, making your brain take a second to process what it’s seeing. The first page is met with the grisly scene of the murdered Maestro. Colorist Dave Stewart blew me away with this book. From bloody corpses to the regal, serene presence of Margaret, to the feel of the sleazy strip club we find Will in, every scene grabs you. This book really pulls you into the pages.
I tend to judge comics books on a few specific criteria and Maestro checks all the boxes. The art and the story match harmoniously in tone and expression. Steve Skroce’s writing is equal to his superb artistic talent. I’m big on faces, I like to see distinct faces with easily read facial expressions and Mr. Skroce delivers. Even the alien-like creatures and magic are intricate while still working inside mundane settings. It’s easy to believe all of these things exist in the same place. An interesting sidenote, I noticed a distinct lack of sound effects, but I didn’t miss them. I think the use of sound effects, or lack thereof, on comic pages warrants further discussion but that’s a topic for another article.
As a father I feel it necessary to give a fair warning – this book is ADULT. The book makes liberal use of blood, gore, sexual content, and nudity. A funny observation, Maestro doesn’t feature gratuitous foul language. There is an f-bomb or two dropped but not Tarintino levels of language. So while I do recommend this to anyone over 18, I would suggest keeping it away from the kids.
In conclusion, I was absolutely floored by this book, from the story to the art to the color to the text. I can’t recommend this enough, especially to anyone who loves adult-theme sci-fi and fantasy. Image knocks it out of the park again!