A World Full Of Wonder And Awe: Isola #3 By Fletcher, Kerschl & Msassyk

by Oliver MacNamee

Every time I get my meaty paws on this book, I’m like Homer Simpson whenever he dreams of donuts. Drooling at the mouth and losing all ability to speak momentarily. Mmmmm, comics.

So, you can imagine the saliva build up when I heard the next issue of Isola was dropping this week, and once again it’s a great installment in this growing fantasy epic. One of the best fantasy series – Hell, one of the best comics – out on the racks at the moment. And, that really is saying something as we continue to bask in what I consider a real purple patch of amazing books that are out there.

Brenden Fletcher delivers another chapter in the unfolding saga of Queen Olwyn and her travelling companion and personal bodyguard, Captain Rook. And, somewhat more than just a bodyguard too,  it would seem from certain comments made in this issue. Seems if you want to put your trust, your very safety, in the best of hands, your loved ones are always the first and best. Although, judging by the events of this third issue, Olwyn could well have chosen incorrectly as she witnesses the still, arrow-filled body of Captain Rook in a dream-like sequence at which time we see what Queen Olwyn looks like in human form. Even if it’s only we the reader who can see her, albeit momentarily, in this original form.

Separated, Olwyn follows the Shaman-like, Moro, through darker, dingier swampland that stands in sharp contrast with the brighter, sandier colours of Rook’s whereabouts; amongst a band of brother looking like Robin Hood and his merry men who soon venture into the same quagmire lands Olwyn has disappeared into. He’s like a taller Yoda, but with a secret or two of his own, too.

As ever, there is a sense of the dream-like underpinning this whole saga, as magic seems to becoming a more dominant element to the story, the people and the threats both Rook and Olwyn meet. And, with its slight eye towards Japanese folklore (in its design and execution, courtesy of the flawless Karl Kerschl and magnificent Msassyk on colours), it reminded me of some of the more dreamy, ethereal sequences in Akira Kurosawa’s films, no mores than in Throne of Blood, Kurosawa’s remake of Macbeth.

Mix this in with the more Anglo-Saxon orientated tales of yore and you have a hero’s quest for the modern age, informed by the myths, legends and fairy tales of the past. Even if it’s set in a fantastical land far, far away. A magnificent mash-up of stories and cultures from across this wonderful world of ours, all brought together in a fusion that is coherent and consistent. It’s a world full of wonder and awe, as well as danger, but a world I love visiting, even if it is only once a month.

Isola #3 lands in comic shops today from Image Comics, Wednesday, June 6th, 2018.

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