Writer: Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
Artist: Karl Kerschl and MSassyK
I get tired of saying it, but it feels like an extraordinarily long time since I’ve read Isola. I’m sure other fans of this otherwise stellar comic feel the same way: a bi-monthly release schedule is just unfortunate. In the middle of this issue, I flipped back to #9 just to remind myself what was going on. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it makes me interact with the story in ways other (monthly) comics don’t. I guess I’m complaining because I want more Isola more often
The plot thickens. However, there is still no clear direction in which the plot will lead. The goal of Rook and Queen Olwyn remain the same: return Queen Olwyn to her human and original form, but how they will accomplish this still remains a mystery. Furthermore, the lay of the land continues to be a question mark for me, as a reader. There still seems to be an imminent war between two or more nations, one of which Rook and Queen Olwyn are a part of, but worldbuilding-wise, I don’t feel the fear an oncoming war might have on the populace of a kingdom or nation. The main issue this creates is a lack of urgency in the plot. Yes, Rook and Olwyn’s predicament is a treacherous one, but the overall stakes do not feel high enough. I think this has something to do with. . .
Like in former issues there are essentially only two characters in Isola. Rook and Olwyn. Sure, there have been cameos from witches, monsters, and family members, but there have been no mainstay characters other than the aforementioned protagonists. I believe this contributes to the overall lack of urgency to the piece as a whole. While Olwyn and Rook are interesting and important characters, characters I wish I knew more about, I also wish I knew the consequences of their absence has had on the Kingdom of Maar. Perhaps writers, Fletcher and Kerschl, want readers to experience the same uncertainty as the protagonists. While a commonly used narrative device in prose, difficult to pull off in the graphic form since readers experience characters externally rather than internal via internal prose.
As ever, the art is in Isola is among the best. The atmospheric shades, the splashes of contrasting colors create an immersive world. The use of fallen leaves in this issue is especially creative, as they are used as panel separators and flashback indicators. An appropriate thematic device, as fallen leaves are things of the past, just as the actions readers see in the flashback are. The leaves give a sense of swirling wind, just as Rook’s emotions are turbulent as unwelcome truths come to light.
A solid and beautifully rendered issue. I just wish there was more context for the world. . . still.