"Don't worry my team will go in real easy, they can handle this" - Commander Taylor
Detective Daniels and Harvey have rushed downtown to a high rise where the "Angel of Death" vigilante has been caught on CCTV after punishing Vernon Paul. The Police have the building surrounded and are sending in a SWAT team to apprehend the masked psycho. Naturally that doesn't go quite as well as the SWAT Commander had envisaged.
We sidetrack back in time to Sam Winters age 12 who is being visited by the girl he saved, you kind of get the impression Uncle Norman isn't in total support of the visit. We learn the Norman and Sam repair military hardware and the girl invites Sam to church on Sunday. Seems Sam is to meet Minister Darrel, leader of "The Branch" religious sect.
Recent issues of Winter City have definitely been strengthening the links between Sam Winters and the Angel of Death, though of course this could be some sort of blind and we may yet have a major surprise coming our way, and with Book Six this hasn't changed. If anything we are getting more details being filled in, under his Uncle's heavy handed guidance Sam is becoming quite the weapons expert with special emphasis being placed on night vision goggles. Our flashback to younger Sam does of course fill in the one element that has escaped the script thus far, the intrusion of religion into the equation. Overall Winter City definitely has Christian overtones, and we now are starting to see the links being established. If anything the six Books in the series thus far reviewed have shown very careful development of the plot, a sort of exploration of why we currently have an almost supernatural caped crusader targeting specific criminals. Of course religion isn't far from dark genre outings at the best of times, the remake of Carrie being released next Thursday should underline that, but it has a crucial part to play in Winter City.
What's cool about Child of Heaven, Forged in Hell is the flashback not only delivers additional information on Sam Winters but also offers a plot device that heightens the tension being raised in the Book. The SWAT team arrive in the foray of the building under surveillance as a lift begins its descent from floor nine, where the Angel of Death has been doing his thing. The script has the levels the lift is passing counting down so we are well anticipating what will happen when the lift reaches ground floor. Naturally when this happens the script switches to the flashback thereby keeping us on edge about what is going to happen. By the time we get back to the present we have our information about Sam Winters' past and are ready to move on with the current developments. I'm not about to give any spoilers about what happens when the lift door opens, but believe me it's well worth reading the book to find out. An at once ergonomic yet effective plot device that should have most readers nodding their heads in approval if not admiration.
While the script is rocketing along, with a slight pause for our flashback, the plot arc isn't being advanced as rapidly as expected. Considering we are at the half way mark in the book there's still a lot of ground to cover and a lot of exposition required. Once again I'm not about to give out spoilers, I'll leave that to sites like AICN who seem to think the reviewer should divulge all secrets thus ensuring readers of that site don't actually have to consume the item being reviewed, but the conclusion of this edition delivers a tantalising final panel. I'm not going to say any more but hands up who else is going to rush into book seven to see what happens, excellent episode cliff-hanger that has me itching to dive into the next release.
So the Purcell Bros have nailed the script requirements, the second half of this graphic novel promises to be a beauty, let's turn our attention to the artwork on display. Once again Munoz and Riquelme have nailed it with assists from Hale and Cardoso.
While the artwork is certainly unique, it does bring to mind the best that Marvel or Warren at their peak were producing. For the connoisseur you are in for a real treat, this is a must have graphic novel for your collection, whether you are focusing on Australian releases or dark genre releases. Once again we have the Gothic look and feel mixed in with I guess a superhero vibe, though we are definitely talking an anti Hero that makes the best efforts to slate Spiderman look like a Sixty Minute puff piece. The Artists in use in this novel are across the feeling and atmosphere the Purcell brothers are creating with their script leaving us, the reader, with something pretty special in our hands. Okay you know what I mean there, get your minds out of the gutter.
While I would like to wax lyrical or whatever about the artwork, it truly is impressive but I'm running out of space, though I am going to mention one aspect that had our resident Artist delighted with it, wow chicks do say "squee" on occasion. Throughout the issue, though primarily in the lobby siege scenes, the light sources are well developed with areas that would be highlighted by light in better focus than areas that would be naturally in darkness or only dimly lit. Great understanding of light and shadow that heightens our enjoyment of Winter City and shows the high degree of professionalism that is being brought to this project.
Another excellent book in this superb graphic novel that manages to mix and match a number of genres while keeping things fresh and unique. I'm now caught up in the narrative flow and am waiting on the revelations that are coming our way in the second half of the novel. Once again I urge all readers to get a hold of Winter City. The book works as a sort of dark vision of Batman mixed in with the kind of urban grunge that we would normally associated with Romero or Cronenberg.
For more details and purchasing options hit the official site, where you may note our resident serial killer is named the "Grim Reaper".