"I'll make you strong. I'll give you the strength to be a soldier." - Uncle Norman
In the aftermath of the fight with the three bullies twelve year old Sam Winter rushes home to no doubt avoid punishment for being tardy from Uncle Norman. He learns he is descended from a long line of soldiers with Norman raising him to have no fear, regardless of the odds. So no possible psychological issues there then. In the present the Angel of Death is visiting Vernon Paul in order to continue his mission to punish the sinners. Naturally more death and mayhem ensue as Vernon is no match for the capped and masked avenger.
Meanwhile Detective Daniels has pieced together the connection between the victims in our growing casualty list. Seems they were all involved in a major property development deal that went wrong, then lurched into financial misdealing, before finally taking a left into murder. Before Daniels can make further discoveries he is called into the city with his partner, the Angel of Death is currently in a high rise and there's a good chance the Police can corner him and bring to an end the reign of terror which has gripped the City. Somehow I don't think it's going to be quite that easy.
For the first time in this series we are starting to get the apparently separate script points coming together and making an arresting statement of why the Angel of Death has decided to target the criminals he is currently working his way through. We now also have enough background to piece together in a sort of cohesive fashion how our "caped crusader" would seem to have supernatural strength and the whole religious side of the coin. Though to be honest I think the religious side of the character needs to be developed in fuller detail, no doubt coming in future episodes. So the time spent in country has certain been worth it in terms of putting us the position to rock on with where the narrative might be headed. If you aren't excited at this stage of the series then I'm poking you with a stick to ensure you are still alive.
Book Five is split into three distinct blocks, with each block being crucial to the development of either the overall background plot arcs or moving the current story forward. Sam Winter's background is proving beyond interesting. The Purcells, is there a collective noun? - have really caught the nuances of the U.S "boy next door". Sam is distinctive, has his trials and tribulations, and is no doubt being forged. Strangely the closet parallel I could draw to a well develop character is Martin Bristol's upbringing in Stevan Mena's excellent Bereavement. Possibly a slightly esoteric reference there, but hey I call them as I see them. Now you have two things to check out. Anyway I'm really dialling into Sam Winter, great character development, and can't wait to see where the Purcells take the character over the next few issues.
Through the middle of the book we have the Angel of Death confronting his latest victim, and perhaps being forced to refocus on his campaign of retribution. One of the requirements of having a character seeking vengeance is to have that character follow some sort of moral framework with a set agenda, otherwise the audience are just reading about yet another serial killer trying to justify his actions. The Purcells have all the bases covered here, though we're learning about the character as the series advances rather than having all the answers from the first issue. Is the Angel of Death justified in his actions? - hell read the comic series to find out, justification is for squids, we're talking single minded vigilante mayhem, anyone want to complain about that?
Issue Five rounds out with our Detectives, Daniels and Harvey, starting to connect some of the dots in their investigation. The "Typhoon" connection has been uncovered, Daniels knows what the link is between the victims, but we still don't know the reason why they are being targeted. Disgruntled investors pretty much go to court, they don't put on the Dr Doom outfit and hit Gore Town Massacre to get their money back. There's also the slight matter of the Police believing they may have their masked madman cornered, I'm sure that's going to work out, which is distracting Daniels from further revelations.
The Purcells have pretty much nailed the requirements with this issue, though I've got a sneaking suspicion I may need to do a review of the whole graphic novel as well as the episodic reviews, due to the intense nature of things. Anyway, and moving along, two thumbs up for the script, it's rocking the zone and certainly keeping my attention.
Pablo Verdugo Munoz and David Aravena Riquelme are on art duties for this issue, like they have been for the previous four, and deliver a stunningly effective atmospheric ride that should have most comic readers drooling over the contents. There's a dark, almost gothic, look to the panels that works exactly as it should for the tension pervading the script. I also appreciated the touches here and there, for example overhead fluorescents providing a lighting source, Smittz lil'demon hair do, and a host of others. You are in for a visual treat with this series, at no stage will you think a panel has been inserted simply to full out the book, it's all got style and reason of being. If you like your comics heavy on art then you are in the right place.
There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, or some such, am I having a good time with Winter City? Oh hell yeah, one of the best graphic novels to have come out of Australia with some prime South American artwork to add just the right aesthetic to things. Can't wait to see where things go from here, full recommendation Kids, you're in for a good time tonight with this book.
To score your very own copy of Winter City hit the official site and for a tad under $5 this full colour comic will be headed your way. Actually for around $20 you can pick up all five issues released thus far, value for money there folks.