Reviewer: â€œStarmanâ€ Matt Morrison
Story Title: The Return
Written by: Mark Plemmons
Penciled and Plotted by: Brendon & Brian Fraim
Inked by: Brendon & Brian Fraim
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: Brendon & Brian Fraim
Editors: Brian Jelke
Publisher: Kenzer And Company
I really wish that this title were regulated to bi-monthly status instead of its’ sister book, Everknights. Sadly, with Everknights’ writer Tony DiGerolamo’s busy schedule writing comic reviews for â€œKnights Of The Dinner Table Magazineâ€ as well as his own comic â€œTravelersâ€ (and a whole lot more besides, I found out after reading his website), that seems unlikely for the moment. A real shame, because this was one of my favorite titles. At least, it was before it tried to add in some drama that was as out of place and ultimately as unwelcome as Sammy Davis Jr. at a Klan meeting.
What’s funny is that last month’s issue, centering on a â€œDwarf’s Night Outâ€, as two of our protagonists (the mage Teflon Billy and the master thief Knuckles) went out for a night of drinking and wenching, was nearly perfect and easily captured the attitude of the early, funnier books. This issue centers upon our heroes finding a magic wishing pool as they are in pursuit of the villains and is based around a plot twist that has been overdone everywhere, especially in comics (give you a hintâ€¦ think Newhart and Dallas). Most of the humor in this issue comes from forced smile jokes and stale one-liners, delivered as the serious plot unfolds.
And I feel conflicted on the plot. On the one hand, I’m glad to see that for once the tired old â€œit was all a dreamâ€ device is limited to one issue and was not used to string the readers out over a couple of issues. On the other hand, since the â€œdreamâ€ in this case involves bringing back the character whose death caused the more serious plots and lack of humor that I find so infuriating, I feel cheated that a good, logical way to bring her back from the dead in terms of the dynamics of this world was found and then we’re told â€œWhoops, sorryâ€¦ she’s still dead and we’re still chasing after the bad guys!â€
At least the artwork by Brendon & Brian Fraim is still up to its usual high quality. All the characters are easily distinguishable from one another and the sense of visual storytelling is great. Sadly, great artwork can never cover up a dull story. And while everything LOOKS exciting and wonderful, the whole thing feels a bit flat and lifeless.