Too serious about comics.

Rihanna Pratchett

Mirror’s Edge #4

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download force 10 from navarone online We’re now past the half-way mark in Faith’s comics excursion, and the series is gradually moving away from its initial episodic format, with the overall arc now beginning to emerge. In general, the book continues to impress, and looks set to stand up remarkably well in trade format.

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The courier isn’t letting her grasp of the day job weaken, but last issue’s revelations about her late mother have obviously become a source of preoccupation for Faith, with tracking down her surviving parent now her number one priority. Rhianna Pratchett continues to combine the feel of the parent property with a more narrative-orientated approach, while using enough familiar images from the games for the change in tack to be barely detectable. What makes the book such a solid success is the structuring and pacing- aside from a rather contrived two-page fight against “Leaf”, this is a textbook example of how to tell a coherent story in a varied fashion. Action sequence leads into flashback leads to introspection into revelation leads into end of the issue. It may be a side effect of having a series/franchise so unrelentingly focussed on its main character, but in comics it feels like a breath of fresh air, reminding of just how rarely a book primarily based around the intrigue of its main plot manages to stick to a regular monthly schedule.

With the action largely confined to interiors, Matthew Dow Smith’s atmospheric cityscapes are much missed, with his depictions of the cast’s faces contrasting unfavourably with Niko Henrichon’s superb cover. The reader is very much dependant on the book’s colouring to distinguish between locations, with the washings giving each location an instantly recognisable tone. This creates problems for a reviewer, however. Is this approach a deliberate recreation of the game’s use of its pallet or a last minute remedying of the artist’s minimalism? The attention to detail shown in choreographing action sequences makes me inclined to give Smith the benefit of the doubt, particularly as the end result adds something a little different to the storytelling without hampering the reading process. Given the high quality of the book, Mirror’s Edge has had a disappointingly low profile since launch, but sticking with the title is proving to be a rewarding experience.

Julian Hazeldine | 17th February, 2009

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