REVIEW: The Ascendant 1 & 2
Published by: Wayward Raven Media
Written by: Mark C. Frankel
Pencils: Christopher Hanchey
Inks: Christopher Hanchey Michael Kellar
Colored by: Rich Cardoso
Lettered by: Cary Kelley
I received issues 1-4 of The Ascendant for review, but my Kindle Fire was being difficult with the PDF file for 3 of the books, with a little help from ComiXology, I was able to read books 1 & 2. All of that is to say, 1.) Kindle Fires are really a subpar tablet and should probably be burned…. and 2.) there are more issues to read than those I was able to review.
The Ascendant is a tale of an escaped Duke of Hell who begins to feel remorse for his millennia of debauchery and cruelty. That guilt causes him to masquerade as a human and go on a crusade against the other escaped creatures that inhabit the earth, corrupting and harming its citizens. Cail, the Doge of the Darkened Reaches, knows there is nothing but Earth and Hell, so his struggles are aimed at making the earth a better place, even if for only a short time.
The Ascendant is a fun tale that has the potential to do a lot. Fail and Faustus are intriguing characters, almost in a Holmes and Watson sort of way, and their dynamic adds a lot to the story. Issues 1 & 2 felt a bit episodic and self-contained, however, by the end of issue 2 you get a sense of an undercurrent that will begin linking future issues more closely. The story has a lot of potential moving forward and it will be interesting to see how, and if, Frankel fleshes it out.
The art is average. It’s not bad, but a more polished art would really help start to set this book apart. It falls into the trap of a lot of indie books of using too much texture and digital effects, and it darkens the art and makes it appear more muddled.
The dialogue can be a bit tropey at times, but it’s fun and fits the story well. I feel the dialogue between Cail and Faustus helps build the story and the characters. The back and forth helped build character voices in my head from the first issue, which is always a good sign.
Again, I’m basing this purely off issues 1 & 2, the story construction feels a bit episodic and like we’re watching a weekly drama series on the CW. I would have liked a more cohesive feel, but that’s me. As always, reviews are subjective and I feel like this may evolve as the story evolves. Other elements of Mechanics were well done, with only minor misses here and there.
The book is well-edited with no major errors in issue 1 & 2.
The Ascendant is a nice read with loads of potential. The story line is not an unfamiliar one, but it’s done uniquely and in a way that leaves the future of the story open for big things.