Tuesday, March 1, 2011

MARCH RANDOMIZER MADNESS - - - March 01, 2011

KULL THE HATE WITCH #4 OF 4  (Dark Horse, 2/23/2011) Script – David Lapham. Pencils – Gabriel Guzman.  Inks – Mariano Taibo. Colors – Dan Jackson. Letters – Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt.

“Chapter Four: the City Of Wonders” wraps up the four-issue story of Kull versus Heka-La the Hate Witch.  I have enjoyed this story from beginning to end, even though the last chapter’s outcome is a foregone conclusion.  Kull is victorious - - as expected.  It’s the telling of the adventure and the high entertainment value that makes it work.

kull 4

David Lapham is a natural story-teller in this genre, and I hope the future holds more Kull/Conan books scripted by him.  He mixes in a little back-story/history throughout the four issues and leaves his own imprint on the legend of Kull.  The supporting characters are clearly defined and appealing, even a traitorous old friend whose actions have been manipulated by a controlling Hate Witch. Her well-laid plans from decades prior were intended to utilize Kull as the catalyst for a new age of chaos.  However, Kull’s will is stronger and he resists her influence and takes actions that will eventually lead to his bringing a new sense of order to the ancient realms.  Nicely done.

It almost seems like a contradiction to make this statement - - but this may be the most upbeat book that Lapham has  been responsible for.  It ends well for everybody.  My respect and interest in his work has been taken to a new level.  All through the reading of this series, I expected the regular Lapham grisliness to manifest somewhere in the story but it never did.  Once I got over the surprise of that I began to appreciate this even more.  It’s not ground-breaking in terms of adaptations of Howard’s characters - - but it will entertain you with a good barbarian adventure tale. Recommended.

The covers by Tom Fleming have been absolutely fabulous, and are worthy of collector’s item status.  Guzman’s interior art has been incredible as well, and still looks great here despite a little less detail than previous issues and a “rushed job” look to some of the panels.

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