Sensual, Sensational Sci-Fi Fantasy: Reviewing ‘StarHenge’ #4
by Olly MacNamee
‘StarHenge’ #4 is an artistic tour de force offering up classic old school comic cuts while continuing to dazzle and astound with digitally rendered art that looks more like gouache and oil paints than it has any right to do. That and well woven story of past present and future that is beginning to chime together by the end of this particular issue.
The past, present and future begin to merge like some fevered dream in the latest issue of Liam Sharp’s Arthurian sci-fi/fantasy series, StarHenge. As much influenced by sci-fi tropes and designs as it is Arthurian legend, our hero and narrator, Amber Weaver makes use of art to process her thoughts, her worries and anxieties. And here, she recounts her terrifying ordeal with “Death Robot from the Future” – suspiciously similar to Marvel UK’s Death’s Head II, and a knowing wink at the reader – in an old school comic book style. And, just like that the reader is transported through time themselves. Well, aesthetically speaking, of course. But nonetheless a clever trick to pull.
Alongside this spectacularly realised scene from the young Amber’s life – offering up some sensational and sensual fantasy art – we get more of a recap of Arthur’s heritage; what and who came before the Once and Future king. A story Sharp revisits and rewrites with some of the more misogynistic elements inherent in the origins of Arthur’s birth suitably changed and updated.
We move through classic and frenetic comic book art of the past, through a Gustave Klimt homage page and back into the digitally produced painted art that seems almost painted directly onto the page if you didn’t know any better. Plenty more exposition, courtesy of Sharp and Geoffrey of Monmouth, but this time it has an urgency to it. A quicker pace to this portion of Uther Pendragon’s life as we finally witness the birth of the future king of Britain.
Beautifully bold in its layout and artistic choices, Liam Sharp’s StarHenge #4 is a comic book where the art and narrative are integral to one another like very few comic books. An earthy, gritty portrayal of an ancient England with a splash of the futuristic too. And out now from Image Comics.