Review: Reyn #7
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kel Symons
Art: Nate Stockman
Reyn #7 – courtesy of writer Kel Symons and artist Nate Stockman – picks up from the death of Seph’s father in the previous issue as they continued to chase through the Venn’s layer. As always, Reyn has a cinematic quality to its panel design and layout, as if a camera is panning across the scene and zooming in for dramatic effect. Speaking of which, Stockman captures Seph’s grief perfectly as the close ups of her mourning expand with every panel, tears running down her face. It is a shame, however, that this moment is short-lived and she quickly goes into battle mode. While it may be characteristic of her to resume her typical battle-ready demeanour straight away, it does deny the reader of any emotional resonance. It would have been better to have had more time to allow Seph to grieve and even reveal a softer, more empathetic side to Reyn.
She quickly snaps out of her very sudden bereavement and the action continues through the Venn layer. Halfway through all the bombastic drama, however, this humble nerd forgets where the group is going and what the aim of the mission actually is. It feels as if the past two or three issues have had the same location, unclear trajectory and have achieved little character development. Even the colour scheme in the first half of this issue feels repetitive, with Stockman reusing muted grey colour schemes for interiors.
When it comes to story and character development, Reyn certainly needs a shot in the arm and a change of scenery. We miss the vibrancy and natural environment of the first few issues, which definitely fitted the medieval fantasy genre as opposed to the slightly boring sci-fi of recent issues. While the space setting lends itself to great visuals, the story – Reyn leading a group of forgettable misfits out the Venn’s colossal spacecraft – has not progressed enough in the past three issues and will hopefully make a distinct shift in issues to come.
There is an interesting scene which addresses the sexual tension between Reyn and Seph – of which there has markedly been little – through other characters’ bringing it up. When each of them are dressing in their spacesuits – the first time the reader has seen either of them semi-naked – anonymous characters suggest she should make a move on him, to which she replies “I don’t really think of him like that.” Hopefully this remains throughout the series, as the platonic nature of their relationship is really cool and reminds the reader that not every kickass boy and girl need to be in a romantic relationship, instead loving and respecting each other in different ways. Also, one of Reyn’s admirers happens to be a gay man of colour, which isn’t hugely important in terms of plot but is instead a nice, understated nod to diversity within the universe.
Stockman’s art work is less cartoonish than in previous issues of Reyn; many scenes are quite visceral and brutal, especially the panels in which the Venn whip slave labourers. There is, of course, the typical cartoonish onomatopoeia, but the grislier action scenes come as a welcome change of style for the series. And while the first half does maintain its increasingly boring muted colour schemes, Stockman changes it up and adds some dark pinks for exterior scenes which is refreshing given it has felt the reader has been trapped in the video for Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream” video for the past few issues. Also, while it is easy to enjoy Aurora’s 40s pin-up siren look – especially in her spacesuit – it is still baffling as to why she is illustrated as such when it is completely irrelevant to the time, location and fantasy of Reyn.
Reyn #7 certainly isn’t a bad issue. The art work is good, there is some slight character development in relation to Reyn and Seph’s relationship and the action scenes remain consistently entertaining. But on the whole, the series feels stuck in a rut with little having really happened in the last three issues other than the death of Seph’s father, which was notably dealt with over a few panels and generally overlooked. The next issue needs to bring real change to the storyline and bring something bold and dynamic to the table. The series has a lot of potential but seems to lack a little direction. Hopefully the coming issues address this and bring the reader something truly exciting.