Review: Reyn #10
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Art: Nate Stockman
Kel Symons and Nate Stockman’s action-packed fantasy thriller Reyn returns with its tenth issue, following on from Reyn’s dramatic face-off with the Venn. Seph is responsible for bringing a fatally wounded Reyn to his guide Aurora, who reveals the slightly baffling history of our reluctant protagonist. One thing to admire about Symons’ work on Reyn is that it is full of unexpected twists and turns, for better or worse.
One thing that is hard to accept is the idea of a manufactured Reyn; what was initially really charming about the series was the fact Reyn was a grumpy, unexpected anti-hero. Rendering him a manufactured creation, while still being a pretty nuanced interpretation of the hero archetype, makes him somehow less interesting and somewhat silly. He was a cool, irreverent antihero, who is now easily reproduced and unoriginal. He remains likeable, however, which will certainly continue to attract readers every issue.
There are really tender moments throughout the issue, even if they come off a little ham-fisted, but they are short-lived. Seph is barely afforded the time to process such huge information, not excluding the realisation that Reyn “cares for” her before his potential reboot. This is strange seeing as there are so many wide panels without dialogue or action, but when there is the opportunity to indulge in some real drama, there doesn’t seem to be any time.
It is nice to discover more about Aurora’s background and self-development; her desire to emulate classic Hollywood starlets is kooky and fun, confusing the feel and overall look of Reyn even further (knights + space stations + 50s pin ups). It feels like there may be too much explanation, with most of the issue taken up with covering every detail of Reyn’s history and technical make up. It makes for good sci-fi, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what Reyn should be; the series is at its best when indulging in mad cap knights-and-armour action with folk and fantasy elements rather than disorienting pseudo-sci-fi.
There is, as always, a lot of humour in Reyn #10, which serves as a convenient break from what has been a fairly intense run of issues. These great one-liners usually come courtesy of Aurora but Seph herself remains as dry and acerbic as ever. We just miss Reyn and his reluctant heroism to bring the bigger laughs, but Reyn #10 is as funny as always, which is a must in what could have been a pretty dry issue.
The art work, especially on the panels with huge landscapes during Seph’s journey, is stellar; Stockman retains his use of bold lines and colours to reinforce the fantasy element to Reyn, and his characters remain well-designed and full of expression, Aurora in particular. The panels explaining her self-design, featuring a host of Hollywood starlets, is superb, blending two totally different universes together with deliberate and effective juxtaposition. The cover itself is stupendous, conveying at once the visceral carnage and utter sadness of the past two issues.
There are a lot of positive qualities to Reyn #10, such as its humour throughout, the thorough (to a fault) development of Reyn’s history and some amazing art work to compliment the story. But on the whole, it feels as if the issue attempts to take on too much, too many genres and ideas. Reyn is by no means a bad title, just some of the grand ideas of the story aren’t always executed perfectly and everything- from theme to plot lines- gets a little muddled. Hopefully the coming issues will iron out any problems.