Just like my last review, this one is a while coming. I know the author, Abraham Martinez, from way back in the early 2000s when we were both graphic design majors. Back in the day we would hang out, and we even developed a concept for a comic book, which never went through. Time went by and we didn't meet up again until around the first Frank N' Con, where he had this comic for sale. I fielded an interview with him which we also ended up not using. (Sorry Abe) And I told him I'd post a review of this comic for a column that I didn't end up starting until a few months ago. So, after much procratination and with several apologies to the author, here is my review of Fal: Hunter of Shadows.
FAL fallows the adventure of Jonah Lovecraft, a rather mood-stricken individual who, after witnessing the death of both his parents at the hands of demons, travels around slaying demonkind wherever they might appear on Earth. Aiding him is an enigmatic, and black-shadowed female figure that Jonah refers to as "the dark" who gives him supernatural abilities he can use to easily, and often rather bloodily, dispatch evil.
Now, after reading a paragraph like that you can pretty much see what one of the major weaknesses of this comic is: there's an awful lot of cliches. I had yet to also mention that the first demon attack involves a couple with their baby in the park, the Demons already know Fal by name and the powers Fal possesses involve him wielding a scythe and putting a Jack O' Lantern on his head. Yeah. Nothing brain-bending about that. The fact that the protagonist's last name is "Lovecraft" it's pretty transparent where the author was going when he developed this character. Unfortunately, he didn't make it there, as he was too busy rescuing a baby.
It's a shame since the high points of this book are so well done you really wish that the story hit a higher crescendo. Martinez's charm shines through in a place I know it would, in the artwork. While most of the details come from a vigorous Photoshopping it's very expertly done, and the book as a whole is unexpectedly very bright and colorful. What is most striking is how Fal's magic, and any accents that are used in and around him all involve autumnal tones. Martinez had discussed with me that more than a halloween theme, he had intended to make things fall more along the lines of autumn, and at last as far as the coloring he's succeeded. Also, even though the story is somewhat predictable the author manages to pace it in a way that shows a lot of understanding of the comic book format. Specifically, he shows us what's happening and keeps everything at a pace which makes every page engaging
Fal: Hunter of Shadows is a comic that has a lot of potential. Once more issues come out I'm sure that the story will only improve off the simplicity that is this first issue and show us the Lovecraftian thematic that its author is hoping to achieve. Keep an eye on this one, it could get big.
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