Kill Your Darlings #3
Reunited with imaginary friend Wallace, Rose and Elliott journey back to save the kingdom of Rosewood. Somewhere deep within, the great and terrible evil waits for their arrival…the same one that destroyed Rose’s life all those years ago.
Iteration and elevation are the keys to keeping a serialized comic going. Each issue has to be a piece of some larger puzzle while also standing on its own well enough to be worth the price of admission. As such, structuring out and pacing series can be an extremely difficult thing to do, with even the best of creators running into pacing slumps. Kill Your Darlings #3 continues to keep pace with the series’ current hot streak, being not only the best issue of the bunch on its own but also acting as an excellent continuation of the story thus far. There’s so much adventure and character packed into its pages that I’m surprised it managed to read as fluently as it did. The book is a masterclass in structure, pacing, and utilizing world design to communicate as much story as possible to the audience. Alongside writing and art that’s as sharp as ever, this book continues to be near-perfect in all aspects.
The plot of this issue sees the gang finally find their way into Rose’s once imaginary Kingdom of Rosewood, which has been all but left to ruin as its once joyous people find themselves locked behind the high walls of ‘Sanctuary’ to keep them safe. After some incredibly fun scenes of world and character building, the darkness begins to settle in as Rose begins to learn the truth of what’s happened to her once fabled happy place.
What this issue does best, on top of everything the series has continued to excel in, is character. When I say that, I don’t exactly mean Rose or Wallace, but instead how the book itself and all its many facets give this story so much identity, joy, and depth. I’ve been struggling to find the right words with simple diction for what it is about this series that has me hooked, line, and sinker, but this issue really put it into perspective for me.
You see, I want to be quick to praise Bob Quinn’s art in this issue, which renders the characters and world in a dynamic mix of expression, coloring, and life that gives each panel movement a sense of animated fluidity I struggle to find anywhere else currently. However, I have to pause and make sure I mention the dialogue and plotting that give this series such an immersive flow in terms of readability, then doubled by a lettering job that gives each character’s voice a certain snap of identity. Each and every piece of this book is crafted with a certain uniqueness that doesn’t clash like a pop art barrage but instead dances together to the tune of cult harmonics, uniting the package into something truly breathing.
This issue is, effectively, one sweeping scene that tells an important part of this story, that being Rose rediscovering her friends once again. But with that discovery comes the horrifying realization that things aren’t how she left them. For a few minutes, this book exudes a childlike warmth that’s reflected in the dialogue, the art, the expressions of our character. When the reality of the situation Wallace has been trying to downplay settles in, there’s an edge of sickness to it that leaves the reader. Especially with the issue’s cliffhanger, it just begs to be a story you read all at once and yet is still paced out to fit a serialized release schedule.
Kill Your Darlings #3 is joyous yet emotionally raw. So much character is packed into one book that it's a miracle it isn't an overstuffed mess, but instead a dare I say perfect comic with pacing, writing, and art deserving of award.
Kill Your Darlings #3: Sanctuary
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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