All good things come to an end and that includes story arcs. It may be a while before this series comes back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy issue #14 in the here and now. Is it good?
The Autumnlands #14 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
END OF STORY ARC. Everything goes BOOM. Our travelers have to pick up the pieces in the final chapter of THE AUTUMNLANDS: WOODLAND CREATURES.
Why does this book matter?
A little over a year ago we were fortunate enough to interview writer Kurt Busiek and artist Benjamin Dewey and it was clear then they had far reaching plans for this series. So far the world building has been rich and incredibly unique from any other fantasy I’ve ever read. Plus Dewey can draw fantastic talking animals!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Speaking in tongues.
This issue pulls the last threads together in a pulse pounding way as Dusty and the Champion encounter the mysterious woman who has been floating about the world. Her ruthless gusto continues to be fearsome, though this issue cracks that down the middle as Busiek reveals a bit more about the Champion. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed this series is how it manages to reveal details in a subtle way that requires the reader to pay attention, though never enough to truly understand what is going on so that the wonderment and mystery continue. There’s also the immediate conflict to deal with as well as the robot ladies and their decision to become free. Both are resolved in an interesting way that’ll get folks talking in the months where we wait for issue #15.
There’s an interesting statement about heroism in this issue which ties well with the big called to action that the last few issues have built up to. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting the events to twist as they do here and it makes the events feel well earned. The captions do a heck of a lot to add gravity to the situations throughout the issue too. Without them I’m not sure it would have all come together in a way to make it feel paramount.
Plus there’s a lot of naked fighting! I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but to see a fresh dong waggling in the wind as life and death are on the line has a certain romanticism about it. Dewey does a great job with this issue, keeping the action clear and the powers–magic or not–epic and impressive. The novella opening double page is quite fun in a cheap romantic novel sort of way and plays well with the general plot of this issue. Jordie Bellaire colors the heck out of the issue too–all the energy blasts and fire are external, and the general tone of darkness before the dawn is felt throughout.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s an escape in this issue that certainly was convenient for the heroes! Given the villain’s general ego it makes some sense, though given the rug that was pulled from under her earlier in the issue she should know better! It’s also a villain blunder we’ve seen time and time again.
So often with comics I review I wish the story progressed faster, or more details were revealed in a single blow. I’m feeling that somewhat with this series; we’re 14 issues in and I’m really not sure who the Champion is, but I guess that’s part of its charm. Busiek is dropping crumbs at a slow, but very well paced clip which keeps me wanting more. Am I impatient because I like to know everything? Yes. Is the pacing here too slow? That may depend on the reader!
Is It Good?
Autumnlands continues to be the epic fantasy that you’ll never want to end. This issue wraps things up well so that when it does return it can start anew and take us on yet another wild adventure.