Advance Review: A Character-Driven Story Emerges In Fearscape #2 From Vault

by Olly MacNamee

Fearscape #2 comes out this week, and once again we are met with Henry Henry, a writer without a writing career whatsoever, mistakenly led into the Fearscape by the nameless golden muse, and Henry’s initial guide through this dream-like otherworld of strange beings and hidden dangers. Not only is Henry Henry an unreliable narrator, he’s an unreliable human being, too. Happy enough to live with the belief he is the established author, Arthur Proctor, Henry continues to control what we the reader read and what is censored, either by some carefully placed speech balloons, or by simply leaving out scene he feels are unnecessary to the “narrative cohesion” of this story.

Writer and creator Ryan O’Sullivan introduces us to the type of bizarre and magical kind of characters you may expect in such dimensions, some who Henry feels have seen right through him, with others seemingly oblivious to his true identity. Some will be familiar to you when you met them, while others are original creations that Henry comes across in the similar manner of many of literature’s past dreamscape travellers such as Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, or even Will in Piers Ploughman. Although, the two  aforementioned characters were both seeking the true path to living a devout life. I’m not sure this is Henry’s motivation. Like Christian, Henry is his own omniscient narrator, and so we’re only getting his point of view. If there’s something rotten about him, he ain’t telling.

Andrea Mutti’s art and Vladimir Popov’s watercolour-like colours continue to delight and add a lightness to the Fearscape – even at the darkest of times – that lifts this book and avoids a muddied, dark reading experience. It also adds to a sense of the unreal too, contributing to the overall tone of this compelling and complex book.
The “character driven” narrative O’Sullivan promised has begun to emerge, even if the character in question has some rather inflated opinions of himself and HIS dubious morals. Hardly your archetypal hero, right? We’ve still got some distance to travel with Henry Henry but I’m certainly keen to see where this journey will eventually take us. Will he see the error of his ways, or remain unmoved and corrupted? That’s the $64,000 question that still remains unanswered.
Fearscape #2 is out October 31st from Vault Comics.

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