Coming To Grips With Failure In Canto #6

by James Ferguson

Canto’s first adventure comes to a close in this issue as the tiny clockwork knight faces off against the mysterious Shrouded Man. While this is a battle with fists and energy, it’s also one of wits. Canto’s mind is racing as he struggles to come to grips with the reality of his quest and what that means for his people and himself.

What I found most interesting about Canto was how it explored the idea of failure. Since this is an all-ages title, this is tremendously valuable. Everyone, especially children, need to learn that you can’t win every fight. Sometimes you come up short. What matters is that you get back up again. You keep going. You try again.
Artist Drew Zucker gets to the heart of this idea in some gripping pages. You see the doubt, regret, and sadness bubble up within Canto as he’s verbally beaten down by the Shrouded Man. What makes this knight a hero is what he does next. He digs deep and rises up to face this monster head on. You can see this transformation in an incredible sequence. One moment he’s beaten and downtrodden and the next he’s full of anger and determination.

There’s a terrific and truly epic fight scene in Canto #6. The Shrouded Man towers over the knight with energy blasts pulsing through the air. Colorist Vittorio Astone fills the page with an electrified light to the point where you practically have to squint to take it all in. Letterer Deron Bennett uses a scratchy font for the villain, adding to his sinister nature.
This all happens in the first half of this issue. The real treat comes in the rest of it as we see the results of Canto’s quest. They weren’t quite what he expected or even what he set out to do, but his courage inspired real change within his community. By standing up for what’s right, others were able to find the strength to do the same.

Canto #6 seemingly has three endings. We see the battle between the knight and the Shrouded Man, his return home, and then what he sets out to do next. Each one is powerful and packs an emotional punch. Writer David M. Booher leaves us with a poignant and meaningful finale. Canto shows us that anyone, big or small, can stand up and make a difference. It’s an inspiring comic that resonates with any audience.
Canto #6 from IDW Publishing is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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