Guestwriter: Stonie Williams
Writer & Artist – Steve Skroce
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Lettering & Design – Fonografiks
This article is possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.
Fair Warning! This is a review of Issue 4 and there will be spoilers from previous issues! If you haven’t caught up yet… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???
So the last issue we left Will running with his tail between his legs. His capital city reduced to rubble. Wren and his mother were the only ones to make it out, so far. We open this issue with a flashback to Will as a young man, shortly before his exile to Earth. He earns the favor of a demon princess in another realm who offers him sanctuary.
Which brings us back to present day. Will, Wren and his mother stand at the edge of Evuntayd, the capital city of the Underworld. Will thinks he can find them some help. But first, he has to get through Evuntayd. A city of goblins, demons, orcs, vampires, and trolls. As well as ‘every other vile creature that’s inspired all the hell mythology across the realms’.
Steve Skroce is nothing short of a master at storytelling. This book blows me away and I can’t say enough good thing about it. The fact that he’s this good of a write AND an amazing artist makes me hate him with a burning green jealousy.
His story pulls you into this world that’s completely alien, but somehow familiar. In a world of magic, plant-people and talking swords, there’s still a lot of humanity inside the story. It keeps you rooted and invested in these people and this place. His artwork is both beautiful and jarring. You get these gorgeous landscapes that are breath-taking. Vibrant characters with unique styles to each of them. Then he gives you the best violence and gore. I like horror, but only when it serves a purpose. I don’t like blood and guts for the shock factor. I don’t scary to be scary. Skroce delivers the kind of visuals I look for when I want horror. Yes, it’s visceral and gory. Some pages are gratuitously gory. But it all serves a purpose. It’s designed to make you feel something.
Dave Stewart’s colors cannot be undersold. They don’t steal the show, they take the show to a whole new level. They make the awe and the gore equally beautiful in their own ways.
The transitions between scenes in this issue seem to be a little weird to me. When you move from the flashback to present day, it took me half a second to realize there was a change. There’s no indicator of scene shift, and I guess I’m spoiled and have gotten used to the direction.
This issue gave us a bit more backstory than in previous books. We learn more about how Will’s exile and why his mother didn’t go with him. We get to spend a little more time with Will’s father. The story itself doesn’t progress much this issue. But it’s still an important part that gives you a lot of information. This is not something you can skip, even though it doesn’t feel as meaty as previous issues.
This goes in line with the previous issues, use of gore and language is pretty high up there. I won’t let my kids read this one for a while. Which is bittersweet for me? I know they’re going to love this book as much as I do, so I look forward to sharing it with them in a few years. Fans of Heavy Metal, Army of Darkness, and more adult versions of things like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth will feel right at home with Maestros. Until next time, happy reading!