Rick Remender and André Lima Araújo’s A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance is as much an exercise in pacing as it is in volume. Comics have an abstract sense of sound about them that range from blockbuster levels of loud to subtle drama levels of soft. An Avengers comic, for instance, doesn’t “sound” like a Batman comic, which in turn doesn’t have the same acoustics as a Saga or Criminal comic. There are a lot of variations in volume to be found in the medium. A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance has been a strong example of this and how it can impact storytelling. Issue #6 continues to expand on it.
The latest issue of the series keeps the volume low, so to speak, as Sonny finds himself living off the grid in a small makeshift encampment that’s as far away from technology as possible. The people who are after him live in a world where GPS pings and sign-in alerts make everyone easy to track, frighteningly so.
As a result, and after the events of the previous issue force Sonny and a small kid to go on the run, Remender and Lima Araújo decide to catch up with their characters with a kind ‘calm before the storm’ sensibility that sets up some potentially very bad things to come.
Remender and Lima Araújo do an excellent job of capturing the quietness that characterizes living in a vacuum of technology. This is what I mean when I refer to sound in the comic. There’s an intention behind capturing this kind of silence as it serves the story’s pacing and tone. It slows down the narrative so that the reader can consider the things that led up to Sonny’s current predicament without the distractions associated with our digital-heavy lifestyles.
The comic was already paced in a kind of moment-to-moment manner that kept things intimate and intense. Issue #6 lets us breath a little before getting back to the methodically tense chase that’s been taking place since issue #2 of the series.
The script, as has been the case so far, sticks to brief dialogue exchanges to keep things from devolving into longwinded sequences that deviate from the matter at hand. A Righteous Thirst is a very focused comic, something it has to be if it wants to sustain the different elements at play in its storytelling.
Lima Araújo’s art is equally focused and it’s where the comic plays the most with sound. Pages are never static and feature quick cuts to vistas, objects, and animals present in the environment that help populate the story with personality, not unlike how slower-paced movies are edited to create a contemplative atmosphere. It establishes a strong sense of place and it allows the reader to appreciate the settings the comic’s characters inhabit, down to the sounds that color the locations. Not many comics can lay claim to finding success in this and it has been quite the experience watching it all grow into deeper and more complex forms issue after issue.
A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #6 is confirmation that the series is still on the right track and riding high. Each entry has been a surprise unto itself and #6 is no exception. It’s a comic that demands to not just be read, but also to be listened to.
Story: Rick Remender, Art: André Lima Araújo
Color: Chris O’Halloran Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Read and then go watch some Criterion films for good measure.