Snarked! #12

First, the bad news. "Snarked" #12 is the final issue of Roger Langridge's Eisner Award-winning all-ages series, which means that if you're a fan, you're about to be very sad to not get your monthly dose of Langridge greatness. The good news, though, is that if you haven't been reading "Snarked," you've got twelve issues of great comics (thirteen if you count the preview/#0 issue) waiting for you to read.

For a final issue, "Snarked" #12 wraps up all of its plot threads rather neatly. Sure, the book has Scarlett, Rusty, Wilberforce, Clyde, the King and everyone else still trapped on Snark Island. So considering that we've still got to have the big confrontation with the Snark (whose presence has been felt during the entire series but never actually seen), plus resolving the rift between Scarlett and her father the King, it would be easy to assume that not everything would get tied up in such a nice, neat bow.

But instead, that's exactly what we get. The fight with the Snark is great, and I appreciated the fact that this wasn't a battle without some casualties from our heroes (while still staying friendly to the series' all-ages mandate). But seeing not only the immediate problems finally solved but even the bigger ones (like the coup running amok back on the mainland, or the whole problem of succession to the throne) are wrapped up. And best of all? There's an end sequence set in the future that felt right. It doesn't take the easy way out, and as a result there are a few moments where readers might actually get a little teary-eyed because Langridge avoids the big obvious "everyone is reunited and hugs a lot" cliche. Instead, it's bittersweet in parts, even as a good helping of wisdom is dispensed. It's not the ending I saw coming, but it's definitely the right ending for this book.

Unsurprising is Langridge's art being as strong as ever. It's cartoony but still beautifully crafted, and the aged versions of the characters in the future are both instantly recognizable and also clearly older. And as cute as his characters are, the Snark's still able to provide a good wallop of danger when it attacks; I don't think I'd ever say that Langridge's art could get vicious, but the big climactic battle scene is probably the closest it'll ever get to that moment.

I'm going to miss Langridge's "Snarked," a series that never failed to entertain each month. He's writing "Popeye" for IDW, so it's not like we will be entirely without Langridge, but him tackling his own creations (and a few characters in the public domain originally from Lewis Carroll's books thrown in for good measure) has been a special joy. Hopefully the wait for Langridge's next brand-new project won't be too long. Langridge, like "Snarked," is a real gem.

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