- Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:39 am
Just got a my digital download of the second volume of Jon's ongoing Flying Sparks series with Jethro Morales. Jon's Ember War is an Arkhaven product, but the first Flying Sparks graphic novel was a Dark Legion imprint, so I'll review it here rather than there.
We start with a decent-but-not-particularly-revealing cover by Gary Shipman. It's Chloe's on-and-off mobbed-up boyfriend Johnny shooting and being shot at with some sort of light burst, which I guess we're supposed to figure is an off-panel Chloe. I'd like to see Jethro doing the covers, frankly. He's terrific at composition and drawing you in with a single, memorable image -- and while it's nice to get a special edition occasionally with a cover by a guest artist, this is really his baby. There is a second cover by yet another artist (Meta-Girl this time). This is followed by 71 pages of solid storytelling and characterization, more than a little romance and the occasional unexpected blood-and-guts moment, all beautifully rendered by Jethro (his inks are especially nice here -- unhurried and, I think, all his), and pleasingly colored by Sanju Nivangune. I won't spoil the storyline, but it comes to three 22- or 23-page issues total; a nice value if Dark Legion sells it at the same price as the first volume, and well worth picking up.
I should mention supporting this came with a bunch of bonus 'stretch goals extras' available for download. The Jon stories include a six-page Meta-Girl origin tale (Jethro art, I think, though I don't see any credit); a six-page Meta-Girl and Dynamite Thor story (more panels, but the art is a bit sub-standard); an 8-pager by Jon and Jethro of Hannah (from Flying Sparks) trying to land a man (that one's a little cutesy, but very nicely drawn); and finally, a 24-page solo Dynamite Thor story with passable art by Donald Kent. Jon is developing his Flying Sparks shared universe and I am sufficiently intrigued to want to collect everything. (Hopefully the Jethro shorts will show up in the back of some future Sparks graphic novel installment, or perhaps rate a stand-alone printing when a sufficient number of these accumulate. I'm a physical-copy completist: digital just doesn't get it done for me.)
In addition to Jon's work, there are a few downloadable teasers from other writer/artist combinations. The prize among these is a Punchline story from Antarctic Press. Lovely art by Matthew Weldon and a decent script by Bill Williams. I am familiar with neither, but that's my loss. Best of all, Vox quietly allowed Jon to slip in Kindle versions of Alt-Hero #1 and Chuck Dixon's Avalon #1. What a great idea to draw in new fans!
I had originally entertained the idea of just picking up the graphic novel after the fact, but now I'm glad I opted to support the crowdfunding effort up front. Jon and Jethro deliver on-time, high-quality comics with added value to boot. Great work, guys!