Review: Reyn #2

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

Image’s action-packed fantasy thriller Reyn– written by Kel Symons and drawn by Nate Stockman- returns this week. To recap, Reyn is a descendant of the legendary Wardens of the land of Fate, and following the orders of a guiding spirit, is on a journey with Seph the sorceress. Picking up from the last issue’s impending brawl, the action comes to an immediate start, with a huge “Fire!” in the centre of the page. On occasion Reyn has a cinematic quality, seen when the reader gets a glimpse of everyone’s ‘action’ face before the unbridled carnage begins. If it were even possible, issue 2 proves more action-heavy than the previous outing, jam-packed with old-school onomatopoeia, mass destruction and a plethora of disposable henchmen. Reyn is captured by Vizier’s hoards of henchmen, and must await Seph’s assistance if he wants to be freed.

Splash pages and action-filled panels go by without a line of real dialogue, but is this necessarily a bad thing? Reyn is a thrilling fantasy adventure comic, with an evident emphasis on fun, elaborate action. Surely the dialogue doesn’t necessarily need to be paramount, even if it would make Reyn a more nuanced and interesting read. The dialogue can be fairly pedestrian, with brief glimpses of humour throughout, as seen when Reyn interrupts Vizier’s long-winded interrogation to ask him “Do you even need me for this conversation?” While the dialogue may not be anything ground-breaking, the plot does move along nicely thanks to the many detailed action scenes and the cliff-hanger that certainly threatens to set back Reyn in his quest.

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Something that is refreshing about Reyn is the inclusion of two main protagonists who are of colour and who don’t show any apparent romantic chemistry (yet). Hopefully the two don’t fall desperately in love and avoid the pitfalls of convenient love interest-territory. The two compliment each other really well even in terms of combat, with Reyn’s brutal force providing a stark parallel to Seph’s agility and sorcery. They’re kind of a dream team. And Reyn himself is a colossal wise-ass, which prevents the book from becoming completely predictable and ordinary. It makes for slightly more interesting reading. The voice guiding Reyn also provides significant structure and intriguing, quieter moments for our hero, who is more often than not brandishing a sword or smashing skulls.

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Stockman’s art work is impressive and suits the genre really well; the humans’ character design is in equal parts realistic and cartoonish, which lends itself nicely to the rough and tumble seen throughout the issue. Plus the lizard-men- or whatever Vizier is supposed to be- are suitably grotesque and make for fine villains. Paul Little’s colouring is also excellent; he creates, for example, a tonal distinction between Reyn, whose very physical combat consist of warm, earthy tones, and Seph, for whom he uses colder and somehow mystical colours to depict her sorcery. The illustration as a whole compliments the action-packed story perfectly, and is arguably Reyn’s saving grace.

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Reyn may not be a ground-breaking title bringing something new to the fantasy genre, and aside from Reyn’s stellar one-liners, the pedestrian dialogue does not make for compelling reading. The action scenes, however, are beautifully executed, the protagonists are likeable and the story arc as a whole does have potential. The elaborate combat scenes may have little substance, but this issue establishes Reyn as fun, entertaining- if slightly pedestrian- fantasy.