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"An Unkindness of Ravens #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by BOOM! Studios

article-cover

Written by Dan Panosian
Illustrated by Marianna Ignazzi
Colored by Fabiana Mascolo
Lettered by Mike Fiorentino
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 23rd, 2020

Review:

Sure, you know about the Salem Witch Trials, but you don't know the full story. Not all of the witches were burned back then. Some survived and have passed on their secrets and spells for generations. The latest exists as a group of weirdo kids at Dansforth High calling themselves the Ravens, ever at odds with the popular crowd. When Wilma rolls into town, bearing a striking resemblance to a missing Raven, they take quite an interest in the newcomer.

An Unkindness of Ravens has a great premise, however it takes quite some time in getting there. Much of this first issue is spent setting everything up, introducing each and every character in an exposition dump from Ansel, an inquisitive lurker that seems to watch everyone in the school. Nothing comes through organically. Instead, Ansel is our guide (and Wilma's), talking about each detail in a clunky history lesson.

As such, this debut issue appears more like the first few minutes of an '80s teen high school flick instead of a moody horror book. There are also just some odd choices, like how Wilma's locker is the one once used by the missing girl...who has only been missing for a week. You'd think they'd wait a little while before getting rid of all her stuff.

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Artist Marianna Ignazzi has a unique design for each character that brings their personality to the forefront. Much is implied about who they are without having to outright say it, but that doesn't stop Ansel from telling us the obvious every chance he gets. A great example of this are the popular kids, who have an air of superiority around them. Crowds part when they walk through the halls, showing how they're respected...or feared.

This is also shown in the dialogue as the popular kids have a commanding voice. Letterer Mike Fiorentino delivers these lines in a curt and precise fashion that matches their tone and stature.

Contrast this with the Ravens, who are gawked at for how different they are, however they're still pretty sure of themselves. That is the complete opposite of Wilma, who basically falls through this first issue like a deer in headlights.

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There's a cool atmosphere around An Unkindness of Ravens #1. It's fitting for the time this book is released as there are a lot of Fall colors, as if the sun is in a perpetual state of setting. This makes for some interesting shadows, especially towards the end as Wilma ventures into the woods. Colorist Fabiana Mascolo uses an interesting palette throughout the whole book.

An Unkindness of Ravens has a great premise that never really gets off the ground in this debut issue. The promise is there, however it doesn't deliver. We'll see if this picks up in subsequent chapters, but for now, it's more of a misguided and mediocre teen drama with a pinch of the supernatural, lacking intrigue and mystery.

Grades:

Story: twostars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon UK
Art: fourstars
Overall: 2.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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