"He's in the car, waiting for me" - Carlie
At the Riverside Falls Hotel Caleb is maybe getting on with his life over a few beers with his mates. For those needing reminding Caleb lost the love of his life followed by his family as he took a number of hits in quick succession. Anyway Caleb is joining in the festivities and coming out of his shell, even so far as to picking up Sal and heading home. That's where it all falls apart as Caleb still isn't over Carlie and Sal ends up storming out. Caleb phones Carlie, cause there's always the opportunity to make things worse, and she agrees to meet him the next day at a local Cafe.
While Caleb is working Carlie is having an enchanting day with her new boyfriend Grant Morrison that leads to a proposal. Driving home Grant agrees to Carlie having a quick chat with Caleb at the Diner but then starts to get all angry and envious. One thing leads to another, Grant proves to be something of an aggressive bully, and there's a confrontation between Caleb and Grant over Grant's treatment of Carlie. This doesn't end well, and yes things do end up much worse.
Haydon Fryer pulls a sleight of hand with the final part of his Darkest Night trilogy, this narrative didn't go anywhere near where I thought it was heading. In fact the script writer pulls a double twist and ends up delivering far more of a tragedy than a drama, or the slightly psycho outcome I had originally envisaged the trilogy heading toward. Which of course is all for the good, if we can see what is going to happen lumbering over the horizon then things do get a bit boring and we're left slightly disappointed. Fryer ensures we finish this trilogy on a high note, though to be honest the story may not finish quite as well as it should for those after completion. For the rest of us the narrative runs just as far as it should, throwing up twists and turns at the conclusion to keep us happy with life.
The title "Love" left me slightly confused to be honest as I was expecting the "Revenge" to kick in like a junk yard dog snarling through a chain link fence. Once again I'll point out Haydon Fryer isn't playing to reader expectations but has his own cats to drown with this trilogy. What you do get is a whopping 44 pages of brooding menace that moves from almost angst overload to the promise of some light at the end of the tunnel before spiralling into the darkest of nights. I'm not even going to guess at Fryer's subplot here, hey we aren't a critical site, but there's a feeling of obsession going down that just keeps on giving. The whole series has been pretty moody and tragic, through Acts two and three Fryer adds a bit of sunlight before saying what the heck, "it was a dark and stormy night". Simply put Darkest Night is a tragedy in Shakespearean terms and shows an Author able to confront emotional states from a strong viewpoint. Strangely, considering this is a graphic novel, I'm going to say the trilogy is likely to appeal more to the gals than dudes, where's a knife wielding maniac when you need one, or a teenage Anti-Christ!
While the text throughout the trilogy is emotionally charged, there's a quiet feeling of desperation pervading the script to paraphrase Pink Floyd, it's not dominating the panels. The script does what it has to but does so in sparse fashion, you are not going to spend hours reading it and wondering at the nuances. At the center is the tragic figure of Caleb, stuff happens; the script conveys it without needing to spend unnecessary time spelling it out. Fryer's art work is doing all the explaining that needs to happen, the script simply moves things along.
Over the course of the Darkest Night trilogy Haydon Fryer has taken his distinctive artwork to new levels as each issue arrived. For sure the Artist of today is a long way removed from the more primitive style displayed in Billy Demonslayer Series 1. Fryer has a handle on his style and is giving it free range in the final part of Darkest Night with the panels reflecting the mood of the script and doing that externalisation of inner feeling thing. Particularly note worthy is Fryer's ability to draw views through panes of glass, it's a pretty neat effect that highlights the depth each panel now displays as Fryer draws, no pun intended, the reader into his story. While the panels aren't in colour they perfectly match the atmosphere of the narrative. Fryer's best work to date? For mine yes, but others may point to other comics by this talented Artist.
I got a huge surprised with Love as I was expecting something completely different, but I once again got dragged into Haydon Fryer's story line. You really do need to read all three parts of the trilogy to get full enjoyment, as the story naturally flows from the very first panel in the first release to the last panel in this release. End of day what amounts to a graphic novel is a mood piece more than anything else, Haydon Fryer nails that requirement with both script and art. Recommended to readers who want to take a walk on the tragic side, there are no happy endings to be had, but then sometimes you do need something different to a Disney ending. Haydon Fryer continues to develop his writing and art, check Darkest Night out.
A copy of Darkest Night Act Three will set you back $10, including postage if in Australia, and can be ordered from Siberian Productions. If you haven't dialled into this trilogy as yet then you can get all three issues for a resoundingly good $25.