Knowledge Is Truly Power: Reviewing ‘New Masters’ #5
by Scott Redmond
The Coker brothers and their collaborators have created a truly special world that has such depth and is gorgeous to behold while leaving so much more on the table that could be explored which makes the world feel even more grounded and real. Far more of the world comes into focus with this issue, but the focus on the main characters and the bonds and what people will do to protect their own is not lost at all.
In the penultimate issue, Shobo and Shof Coker took the world they had already built in the previous four issues of New Masters and expanded it, and prepared it for an all-out war. One of the greatest commodities is knowledge/information, and others are willing to fight and kill for the information that Ola Reis holds within her hands.
After the heavier action that was happening in previous issues, this is a quieter more dialogue-heavy one for the most part. That’s because far more information about the various characters, groups, and world is brought to light here. Shobo had given us such deep glances at this world already, but here we learn so much more that makes that fleshed-out world feel even wider and complete. Dialogue-heavy issues can be tough, keeping the reader engaged, but not in this case.
There is plenty of light dialogue and character development between the bits of lore that are dropped so that the energy the book has enjoyed so far is not lost in the process. Shobo doesn’t take his eye off the proverbial ball, and it makes for a continued richer experience.
As with all the issues so far Shof’s artwork is just so dense and detailed and full of magical energy, that resonates through the pages. All of the development and interplay between characters works because the facial expressions/body language work is stellar and allows the emotions to radiate through the panels and pages.
Color wise the images are still very Earthy and bright but also muted thanks to the almost watercolor-like quality that Shof and Harrison Yinfaowei, who steps on board for this issue, bring to the pages alongside the continued color assistance of Julmae Kristoffer. There is such a great shift between the tones in the colors for what the darker recesses of the ship would look like versus areas that allow in natural light, which is such a great touch. Also going black and white for the flashbacks is a great choice as it makes it clear they are flashbacks but also is a great contrast to what the rest of the present-day scenes look like.
The lettering is smooth and gives us a ton of easy-to-follow bubbles as well as a plethora of big bold fun SFX that give all the action even more life. There is plenty of dialogue here as noted above, so making sure it doesn’t dominate the pages and flows around for easy following is key. Going for bigger fonts in these issues, and making the dialogue bold and clear is so good as is the careful use of colorful bubbles to indicate different inflections or tones.
New Masters #5 is now available.