Review: By The Horns #2
I always try and be objective when writing a review,though how successful I am is usually debatable, especially when I’m as excited to read a book as I am By The Horns #2. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for the work from this creative team, across the three Voracious miniseries and the first issue of By The Horns, although I will also freely admit that I tend to have higher expectations from the creative team (writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru) than I do other comics. And yet despite those higher standards, I am constantly astonished at what arrives in my inbox.
By The Horns #2 is no exception.
This is a book I have been waiting to read for almost four months, and it did not disappoint.
This issue finds our unicorn hating and hunting hero Elodie and her deer/wolf/pony/friend Sajen make their way to the island home of Futen, the Dark Demon Sorcerer of the Western Wind, to have a chat about unicorns. The chat… well let’s just say that it makes for a fantastic read.
The opening of this book explains why Elodie has a mad hate on for unicorns, and I have to say that there’s more emotion and heartbreak in those near silent three pages than I’ve seen in some Nicholas Sparks movies. For comparison, it’s like the opening to Up with Carl and Ellie’s love/life story, but focusing on a specific moment. Those three pages set you up for what to expect from Muhr and Tabacaru for the rest of the comic; some pretty bloody gorgeous art work.
Muhr’s visual storytelling is wonderful, and I’ll always enjoy how he lays out his pages. There’s an elegant simplicity to his panels, though the first double page spread has more of an ethereal sense to it – in part I’m sure because of the colouring. The darker hues are at odds with the brightness in the following pages which adds a layer of unease for the reader upon opening the comic.
By The Horns is a fantasy series set in a universe that’s akin to a typical steampunk setting in terms of technology; on the surface it looks like a typical fantasy setting, but one you start paying attention you’ll notice some fantastic things; I won’t lie, I obsessed over Elodie’s boat far too much for a boat in a comic.
It’s within this rich tapestry of art that Naso’s story springs to life. I swear to you, this dude knows how to write a compelling comic; he’s one of the few writers I’d pick up anything he writes because he’s incredibly consistent (well technically that’s a lie – as with Muhr and Tabacaru, Naso is a better writer now than when he first penned Voracious, but you get the point I’m making; I’ve yet to read a bad comic from this man). By The Horns #2 is so much fun; there’s an incredible amount of detail and subtle nods within the art – more than I want to specifically mention because half the fun is in seeing how the team have framed the story within the comic.
By The Horns #2 is probably the best issue to come from this creative team, which surprises me because my expectations were sky high already. Naso, Muhr and Tabacaru are one of those rare teams where everything just clicks into place, and we end up with a fantastic comic book.
Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review