A Sequel By Any Other Name… ‘A Dark Interlude’ #1 Reviewed

by Olly MacNamee

Summary

A return to the Fearscape as well as the return of familiar faces, plus the odd new one too. Sounds like a sequel to me, even if pretentious murderer and narrator Henry Henry would rather we don’t refer to this follow-up as such.

Overall
9/10
9/10

The pompous and totally unreliable narrator of Ryan O’Sullivan and Andrea Mutti’s meta-commentary Fearscape returns this week in the sequel that’s not a sequel, A Dark Interlude #1 (of 5). And, a lot has changes as you would imagine with the narrator having killed off his mentor and now undergoing psychiatric help. And this time round, he’s not the only narrator of his own story either. I doubt he’ll be too happy with this new set-up, do you?

And, when he does turn up letterer Andworld keeps him as opaque as possible with judiciously placed speech bubbles obscuring his face. A clever trick you can only do in comics. Turns out he’s not too much of a speaker these days, when he’s not narrating that is.

Once more, Henry Henry – via his proxy in our real world, writer O’Sullivan – waxes lyrical and pompously in his usual over-flourishing prose while his words are burst by the various characters (which puts him at odds with the cipher we witness in this opening instalment of the new series). Characters from both the original Vault Comics’ series as well as new characters that sequels always introduce.

The Empire Strikes Back gave us Yoda and Boba Fett, while Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (okay, okay, not strictly speaking a sequel, but then neither is this, apparently) gave us the annoying Shortstop. And – to keep it literary- the follow up to Henry IV part two (making it one of the earliest trilogies in literary history) – Henry V introduces the entire court of France to the party. A Dark Interlude #1 gives us the enigmatic godmother whom the reader simply cannot ignore, being given a spotlight on the very first full page of art in this debut issue.

And, as with other sequels, O’Sullivan knowingly includes a handy ‘catch-up’ for any new readers late to the party. Mutti even provides scratches as though we were watching old film reels of past events. 

Interestingly, as mentioned previously, Henry Henry is all but absent from this comic book, even though it is his narrative that guides the reader, predominantly. But, it’s definitely the godmother that will leave a lasting impression on you as she becomes part of this new story and part of the meta-commentary on sequels and franchise-building taking place in this new series. Her calmness in all situation suggests a magic realism about here that threaded itself through the original critically-acclaimed series and now this one too. The close-ups nearer the end demand we pay attention to her.

It’s a welcome return to a fascinating series that tries to have its tail and eat it and walking a fine line in consuming itself in its own mental-commentary. O’Sullivan pulled it off with aplomb and cheek in the furies series, so I have every faith in this writer to steer the reader in the right direction, That’s if his creations don’t lead us all astray before the end!

A Dark Interlude #1 is out Wednesday 18th November from Vault Comics

Olly MacNamee

A unashamed DC Comics fan and sometime teacher for over 20 years! I got lucky and found the escape hatch. Now, I just read and write about comics all day long. Co-host of the ICE-Cast podcast and one third of the brains behind Birmingham's street art and graffiti festival High Vis Fest.

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