“The Stuff of Legend” continues with a new story that unleashes the Jester upon the forces of the Boogeyman. While this is the seventh issue of the series, and the first issue of the third storyline, there is no required reading necessary before diving right in.
As a matter of fact, Mike Raicht and Brian Smith waste no time whatsoever in delivering the action. The story opens with a battle on the high seas and a much darker version of the Jester (at least darker to those who may have read an issue or six prior to this) cleaving his way through the sailors and pirates who staff the Boogeyman’s naval forces.
Charles Paul Wilson III draws the action with maddening detail and kinetic energy aplenty, adding in bits of explosions, shards of ships, and high seas action swirling around the Jester. Wilson is careful not to overwhelm the reader with too much detail, however, and manages to deliver some of the best pages you will find on the new comics rack this week. The amazing part is that the pages are rendered in muted hues: blacks and grays and sepia tones. It’s a stunningly different look for today’s comics, and in this case it works perfectly. The colors help propel the imagery into nostalgic territory, giving the entire issue a feeling that it has been around longer and is just now finding its way to the reader.
As I’ve said, no advance preparation is required to start in with this series, but it certainly would help smooth out some questions if you were to read either of the previous collected tales. There are characters in action and in discussion here that are glossed over, left for a more detailed visit in the future at some point. After all, this is “A Jester’s Tale.”
Leaving us with a cliffhanger, Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have provided quite an exciting tale of the Jester. There’s some intrigue, lots of excitement, and plenty of reasons to come back for more real soon. Issues like this one, however, leave me wishing that this book came out a little more frequently.