Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #2 Review

Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: N/A

Written by: Gabriel Benson
Penciled & Inked by: Mike Hawthorne
Colored by: Mike Atiyeh
Cover by: Jeff Amano
Lettered by: Omar Mediano
Publisher: Beckett Comics

It felt very cool to be asked to read a comic for a second opinion. Chris D. who read the first book asked if I had read issue #1 of this, and I had, as I had read all of Free Comic Day’s offerings. He asked if I wanted to read this, and I happily agreed.

Story!

This story is a western, which is not my style in the least – but it’s done with that mythic quality that you can apply to anything. It is as much a story of love and revenge, as it is a fairy tale. I know this and we are only on issue two. That should say something right there.

Our main character is about to be hanged, having shared tales in the last issue with his hangin’ mate – and this issue is his rescue. We are introduced to the man who he yearns to destroy, and we have a good old fashioned chase in the mix. It’s all great writing, it sincerely is. At this point in time, the title and the story seem very off center from each
other, as we’ve had a few bit pieces of consideration into any of the legends of Sleeping Beauty we might have known – but this issue holds no further clue as to where Sleeping Beauty comes into this.

I give them credit that they are so strong in their concept that they aren’t even trying to explain their title away yet. It means they are in this for the long haul, and this is the kind of book you hope will last it.

Art!

I love the cover. I have no flipping idea how it relates to what I just read, but it is eye-catching and it is dramatic. If I had never read this story before, I would stop to grab it at least, and see what’s going on inside.

On the interior, the book looks like it was drawn by Don Bluth, if not a bit heavier on the linework. I could, though, see this book animated by the same guys who brought you American Tale. It’s very cartoony, and not at all what you would think to expect out of a western story – fairytale or not. I will say that Mike Hawthorne is hitting the expressions on the nose. There is one shot in particular where Red watches as his salvation disappears over the hills, and you just feel how much it hurts.

Now this isn’t to say that it doesn’t fit. It’s the job of the colorist to make it mesh well. If it wasn’t for such an amazingly vibrant color job, this book just wouldn’t feel right for me. The hues and textures are simple, but very dramatic.

Overall!

I feel bad because there is nothing exceptionally sarcastic or witty I can say about this book. It’s a strong title, and Gabriel Benson has come out with a book so strong that they were giving it away in the hopes it would pull in a high readership for the second book. How can I be witty about DEDICATION like that? How can I knock on a book that gives you such a strong performance and didn’t even ask for you to buy a holo-foil friggin’ cover? I can’t. I’ll just buy #3 to thank them.