Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review - Modern Testament Vol 3. Anthology of the Ethereal (@InsaneComics)


"Good morning, Tommy. It's another beautiful day.

There are forces in play in the world that people draw upon for help in making tough decisions. Many of those forces are of the religious variety as the sense of the unknown gives people something to find hope (or fear) in. Modern Testament Vol 3. Anthology of the Ethereal from Insane Comics offers three tales in that light. "Shoulder Djinn" is written by Frank Martin, illustrated by Lucas Urruita, colored by Ezequiel Dominguez and lettered by Kel Nuttall. "The Abandoned" is written by Martin, illustrated by Francesco Conte, colored by Macerena Cortes and lettered by Nuttall. "Down with the Sickness" is written by Martin, illustrated by Joaquin Gr, colored by Matej Stasko and lettered by Nuttall.

In "Shoulder Djinn," a young man grapples with two voices pushing and pulling him in multiple directions. In "The Abandoned," an abused wife defends her son's father to her son. And in "Down with the Sickness," a dying CEO converts all his resources into finding a cure.

Each of the three stories bear some religious overtones and that's become a linchpin of Martin's Modern Testament series. The conflict between Djinns in "Shoulder Djinn" isn't new in the sense that it's basically good vs. evil, but Martin punches it up a bit by offering a physical component to their conflict. His dialogue in "The Abandoned" builds up to a rather dramatic climax before resolving itself in a way that feels calm. Martin's take in "Down with the Sickness" is probably the most morbid of the three in that it forces the reader to confront the reality of mortality. The three stories all draw upon the notion that there are external forces guiding us and free will is something of an illusion.

The artwork in the three stories is fairly varied, but not so much so that it's distracting to the reader. Urruita's work in "Shoulder Djinn" features the two Djinns in peak physical condition and the colors by Dominguez give each of the two a contrasting pop. Conte's work in "The Abandoned" feels the rawest and is an appropriate match for the subject matter of the story; Cortes supplements that raw emotion with a moody color palette of blacks and reds. Gr's artwork in "Down with the Sickness" is the vilest of the bunch, in that it effectively captures the physical embodiment of sickness, with Stasko adding in the appropriate green tinges to bolster that embodiment.

Modern Testament Vol 3. Anthology of the Ethereal is an interesting collection of tales. The main character in each is tasked with a very trying decision and lean on (or are leaned on by) various religious inspirations for guidance. Martin's approach is uniform in that all three stories ask the reader to have a little faith. The artwork is varied and each art team lends their talents well to the subject of their tale. Modern Testament Vol 3. Anthology of the Ethereal is a pretty slick book that questions free will vs. determination.

Modern Testament Vol 3. Anthology of the Ethereal is available now.

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