Fearscape #5 drops this week and brings the curtain down on the first chapter in Henry Henry’s story. And even now, with the infant Muse in his hands and at his mercy, Henry can’t control his own story, even though he thinks he can. As the fantasy characters of the Fearscape make way for the reality of Henry’s real world life, we get a revelation that is shocking, and all too real, as there has never been any indication to this in the previous issues. But then, that is Ea large part of the writer’s skill: smoke, mirrors and misdirection. Either way, as Arthur Proctor’s daughter, Jill, states, whatever has happened to a person in the past, doesn’t mean they have to “grow up to be assholes.” With the implication that whatever happened to Henry also happened to her as she stares quietly back from the page and directly at the reader. The real monster is finally revealed and he doesn’t wear horns.
Ryan O’Sullivan has crafted a well written series and while I still have my reservations about Henry Henry, the epilogue of this book leaves me intrigued to see more of these people and their journey. Heroic, or otherwise. Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov’s collaboration as artist and colorist respectfully have crafted a comic book that forever felt like a dream, which only added to the overall sense of fluidity and fantasy as Henry Henry would travel between the real world and the Fearscape. What was real and what wasn’t became conjecture as we, the reader, were taken on a ride that Henry thought he was in control over. Even dictating his own ending doesn’t have any effect.
We, the reader, demand more! But, even in the real world, elements of fantasy were all too familiar. And, just as before, we get another glimpse at the Tygers. Ironically enough, they arrive just as Henry ponder his fate and his insistence he’s been framed, echoing the lines from William Blake’s poem, The Tyger, in which the question is asked, but never answered by this immortal beast; “Who dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” Seems these creatures of the night are far more resilient than our hapless narrator. Its not the only reference to Blake’s poetry either, and when this further reference rears its head, it only adds to the reader’s sense of intrigue and certainly left something of a chill running up my spine. But, as a book that avows binary opposition – upon which many of our myths, legends and fables are built – it’s an interesting inclusion of Blake; a poet who himself offers up the opposing views of innocence and experience in his two famous collected works. Still, it would seem that the Fearscape is not yet done with this mortal plane.
One part meta-textual exploration on the tried and tested codes and conventions of literature – and in specific the Hero’s Journey – and another part psychological thriller, Fearscape has offered up a most entertaining and unusual read that challenges the reader and offers a very different fourth-wall breaking story than any other book out there on the shelves at the moment. One that’s only just got started too.
Fearscape #5 is out Wednesday 24th April from Vault Comics.