Wesley Fischer and Seth Ridge reach the end of their adventure in this issue. This issue, like the four before it, is a thing of beauty. This will be one fabulous collected work but, for now, the individual issues are worth a read, re-read, or loan to a pal. This is everything a comic can be to the naysayers and doubters of comics.
For fans of comics, well, this is great. Lieber and Parker are well known to comic fans, but here the two really mesh well together. Lieber’s style is stunningly refined — clean and open in the daylight, ominous and spooky in the cave setting. At times his linework is eerily reminiscent of Joe Kubert’s, while in other parts of the book there is a starker quality to the drawing, like Michael Lark. Throughout the entire issue — and truly the entire series — Lieber gives enough detail to guide Chan’s colors to a pinnacle of comic coloring. This is how a comic book should look. The cave scenes are dismally colored but stunning in their grayscale, making the daylight scenes that much more breathtaking.
This issue brings some more suspense as only fictional tales could, and with those moments of suspense come resolutions that are well-suited for such a tense tale. This story may not be the next great thing waiting to be transformed to silver screen or television, but it certainly wouldn’t take much to make that hop.
Parker may not be dealing with talking gorillas, the eight smartest men in the universe, or hidden societies, but he is just as comfortable in this story as in the superheroic stories he writes elsewhere. I mentioned it already, but it bears repeating: Lieber and Parker are functioning as a well-oiled machine in this story. If not for the credit box, interviews, and blogs, I would almost believe that the tale came from one single creator, so tight is the story to art and vice versa.
There’s been quite a gap between the first issue and this final, fifth issue, but the story has been worth the wait. I know Parker’s plenty busy with his Marvel work and that Lieber prefers to avoid superheroics, but I do truly hope the pair finds more reasons to collaborate soon. When they do, it’d be smart of them to bring Ron Chan along for the colors.