Advance Review: Reyn #3

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Review: Reyn #2
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Art: Nate Stockman

Image’s action-packed fantasy thriller Reyn– courtesy of writer Kel Symons and illustrator Nate Stockman- returns with its third issue. This outing sees our eponymous hero take sorceress Seph-struck and injured by the arrow of a Venn henchman in the last issue– to her homelands the Haunted Peaks. Seph is reunited with her family, who owe Reyn a great debt for saving her and may need him for the better good, whether he likes it or not. As a warrior, Reyn is needed to help overcome the Venn as part of a movement defending the world from their no-good antics. Thus begins a new, murky journey to which Reyn has found himself helplessly linked.

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Reyn finally seems to have hit its stride in #3 and is in some ways the strongest issue so far; the first half, in particular, sees a notable improvement in the overall tone, pacing and tension of the story. In terms of plot, there are more than enough twists and turns to keep the plot moving and surprising and we finally receive more insight into what the Venn actually are. According to Seph’s father, Reyn’s antagonists invaded everyone’s land and sparked the great cataclysm that caused great grief and darkness in every region.

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There is less humour in Reyn #3, though it is just as gripping- if not more so- than previous issues; however, it is often the humour that makes Reyn a more engaging hero, standing out from the traditional hero archetype, and the story as a whole more nuanced and subversive. In saying that, the absence of humour does little to undermine the story’s intensity and compelling qualities. And although his dry, sardonic one-liners are few and far between in this issue, Reyn remains a likeable and engaging hero, especially in regards to the reluctance and despair of his destiny as a Warden. Furthermore, there is interesting insight into the connection between technology and magic in the revelation of the supposed sorcerers using amazing technology as opposed to actual magic. Instead Seph’s people have been “keeping the fires of innovation lit,” creating an intriguing parallel between magic and the man-made. And while she obviously remained injured for a large part of the story, there was a notable absence of Seph in this issue; she was present but not as well-utilised as she should have been.

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Stockman’s artwork remains impressive and continues to compliment Symons’ story and dialogue very well. The action scenes, as always, are wild and beautifully illustrated; unlike the previous issues of Reyn when it felt as if they were included to beef up a comparatively weak plot, the action scenes feel more organic and aid the story in its development. He continues to pay amazing attention to detail, especially in the scenes that unfold in the abyss at the conclusion, which are gorgeously intricate and full of depth. Paul Little’s sublime colouring is also worthy of mention, at once being vibrant and subtle while complimenting Stockman’s pencilling. It feels as if there is finally a cohesive balance between the story and the art work.

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Finally, Reyn seems to have hit its stride in the third issue of the series; the story is gripping and complex and the art work is as great as always but better illustrates the overall plot, with epic action scenes feeling intrinsic to the story as a whole rather than filler. Symons and Stockman have started to strike the perfect balance, and while Reyn could do with a little more humour to further separate it from other fantasy titles, it is certainly beginning to reach its potential and become a must-read action-fantasy title.