Sunday, June 25, 2023

"Tales of Syzpense," #1 Brings Back the Split Comic in a Lovely Manner

I've been a fan of Ashley Wood's work for years and he's done a number of projects with IDW and now with Image. IDW's former Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ryall, and Wood collaborated a lot previously, and now they've come together with some other talents to bring us the esoterically-titled, "Tales of Syzpense." It brings back a format we haven't really seen lately--the split comic--and I'm glad it does!

As Ryall discusses in the back matter of the comic, split comics used to be a big thing with, "Tales to Astonish," and, "Tales of Suspense," over at Marvel, to give some examples. They would take two characters and half of the comic would focus on one and the other half on another with two different creative teams telling two totally different stories but sharing a cover. Now, we've got T.P. Louise and Ashely Wood bringing us, "Les Mort 13," and Chris Ryall and Nelson Daniel with, "Dreamweaver." Each story is quite different thematically and in art, but are alike in how both entertain wonderfully!

The first chunk of the comic is the aforementioned, "Les Mort 13," and centers on an eerie island and a visitor to it. The whole thing has an ominous vibe and features Wood's gorgeous artwork with his usual go-to's such as robots being involved. It's quirky and creepy so I really liked it.

"Dreamweaver," features a magical man named Cutler Carlton who realizes he's at a point in his career fighting mystical crime that he probably needs to retire and pass the mantle on to someone new. In the back matter of this issue, Ryall discusses how the comic will follow Carlton giving someone else his powers but then wanting them back and how much of a mess that causes, writing the idea was a bit like if Abin Sur had lived, given Hal Jordan the Green Lantern ring, and then decided he wanted it back. It was a solidly charming debut for the story as well and I enjoyed its more traditional comic art by Nelson as a counter to Wood's incredibly abstract-yet-gorgeous work.

I had a ball reading this first issue and look forward to more, "Tales of Syzpense." The split comic as a format was pretty much dead, but now it's back. I'm here to sing its praises if such a form can give us great comics like this one!

5 out of 5 stars.

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