What can I say about the latest volume of the Stuff of Legend that I haven’t said already? Not bloody much. This book captures the imagination in all the right ways with a story so accessible I find myself telling anyone who’ll listen that they need to pick it up. The maturity and – for lack of a better term – edginess is beautifully tempered by moments of sheer hilarity and joy.
Raicht, Smith, and Wilson create a world of Narnian scope with its history and rich mythology. Layers are peeled away as subtleties of characters are revealed. It’s not growth, per se – it’s just us getting to know them better. A nice touch, considering how often comic book characters are left to stagnate after first being introduced and their motivations explained. That depth of narrative is one of the things truly setting this team apart.
And then there’s Charles Paul Wilson III. I’ve raved about the man’s work in the past, but it’s never quite enough. I don’t have words to describe how beautifully he sets a scene or the life which he breathes into these characters. This issue, there may be a bit of foreshadowing in his work, as well. Time will tell on that front, but the beauty of it is this: if the scene in question is a hint of things to come, it’s quite subtle; on the other hand, if it isn’t an instance of foreshadowing, then Wilson has aptly played off of dialog earlier in the book to create a mote of suspicion where there otherwise might be none. Either way, it’s a far cry from other books that feel the need to insult the readers’ intelligence with how bluntly they spell out their coming twists; or conversely dumbfound the reader with reveals that come screaming out of left field.
What this all boils down to is talent, something this creative team has nearly cornered the market on. That, coupled with the whimsy of their imaginations, makes each and every issue of Stuff of Legend nothing short of a sheer and utter joy to read.
The Stuff of Legend – Voume II: The Jungle, Book 2 gets 5 out of 5 indestructible golems. Where is this all heading, though? I haven’t a clue. And I’m fine with that.
Read this book. Please. You owe it to yourself.