Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A
Written by: Gabriel Benson
Art by: Mike Hawthorne
Colored by: Mike Atiyeh
Lettered by: Omar Mediano
Cover by: Jeff Amano
Managing Editor: Gabriel Benson
Publisher: Beckett Comics
It’s always difficult when a great story ends. Any time you become fully invested in a cast of characters, the situations they’re involved in, and the ultimate goal, the ending, no matter how wonderful, is bittersweet. Whether it’s a film like The Shawshank Redemption, the latest season of 24, a novel like Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or a comic like Preacher getting to the end is extremely satisfying, but also in a greedy way, a hollow victory. If only it could continue a little longer!
From beginning to end The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty brought me a feeling of intense satisfaction. As it drew to a close, I was disappointed that there won’t be a ninth issue next month. In actuality, though, there is no need for another issue of this superb title. Gabriel Benson and Mike Hawthorne fashion an apt conclusion with an action-heavy installment.
Ballad has been following the journey of a boy named Red and his rough colleague, Cole, as they embark to save the town of Briar Rose and, more importantly, Sleeping Beauty. The fairy tale is set against the back drop of the “Old West.” Last month the heroes reached Briar Rose and this month the final conflict plays out.
The only weakness that I could find in the entire series is that some of the elements are never fully explained. The motivations in a couple of places are never totally revealed. Of course, this gives the reader a chance to make some assumptions on their own, and that’s never a bad thing. While some motivations are left for the reader to make their own conclusions, the denouement is perfect. The final pages are beautiful and leave you with a fantastic feeling about the series as a whole.
Saying much more about the story would only give wonderful moments away. If you’ve been reading along with Ballad you don’t want the conclusion spoiled here and if you haven’t…you owe it to yourself to procure the material A.S.A.P. If you have trouble, hold out until June when Beckett has scheduled a collected edition.
There hasn’t been a series that I’ve recommended to more people over the past year than The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty. More importantly, it’s the one book that has a 100% success rate in getting readers that try the book to stay on board until the conclusion. Everyone that tries it loves this book. It’s just that damn good.