Richard Caldwell writes,
People still self-publish without crowd-funders? Is that even possible anymore? Raven Nevermore #1, Chapter One: Days of Yore is the debut issue of Nuno Teixeira‘s poetic revelation of dark fantasy. Created, designed and written by Teixeira, illustrated by Emmanuel Xerx Javier, with lettering by Edmond Brisson, colouring by Axel Rator, editing by Neil Vidyarthi and a snazzy cover by Samuel Casal, Raven Nevermore is now available digitally via Comixology. Teixeira has assembled a creative team from around the globe to bring his new world to life, as this first installment of an already packaged and ready to fly nine-part maxi-series flickers lively in the shadows of the funnest nightmare this side of oblivion.
Yes, terms like “steampunk” and “Gothic” are criminally overused nowadays, but poor Texeira is literate enough to actually know and appreciate their truer meanings, matters arguably more stylish and depthful than half-arsed British cockney and excessive mascara. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Raven Nevermore is the story of Corvan Moore, a Nightwatcher and Captain of the Bastion Guard of Cogtown. He is good at his job in a Judge Dredd sort of way, safeguarding and watching the darkened streets as in this world, the nighttime allows certain veils to wear thin and certain ineffable things to creep out of the shadows. In addition are the problematic crimes committed by the Dreamdust-pushing cell networks of notorious families gunning to control the political power over the Victorian-styled citizenry of Cogtown, the “cultural hub of Uropia”. Moore struggles in balancing his own family obligations with his obsessive-compulsive work ethos, and the numerous new best friends that his spy work brings his way. In the unbelievably imaginative setup, Moore finds himself repurposed on the hunt to find the murderer of his wife and kidnappers of his three children. His quest puts him at violent odds with agents from both sides of the law however, complicated by something rather cthonic trying to come out from inside of his own buried psyche. Whether its a curse or some daemonic possession or nightmare running rampant, some…thing is breaking free through the bloodline of the hero. Dancing with that is the breachspaced world of Cogtown itself, and its wondrous inhabitants clothed in a riftworlds or forgotten realms air. This is yarn-spinning that’s a fast-paced mystery with strong horror connotations and fantastical settings. Magic and science and blood all gather at this crossroads alongside a Lovecraftian spin that is instantaneously addicting and inspired.
Teixeira is a strong storyteller, building a world that is easy to be drawn into, with its hypnotic names and titles and altered cultures galore and meta-textual nuances aplenty. There are so many layers presented in this first chapter that the possibilities for plot potential are uncountable and mesmerizing. Piloting his ship far from any of the over-utilized stereotypes of either the steampunk or Gothic genres, Raven Nevermore is an intelligent representation of a set and setting that is part Michael Moorcock science-fantasy epic and part Dungeons and Dragons. This is just a wondrously fully-formed concept in every which way. A creeping mystery already in the works.
Javier’s work is stellar in its cinematography and staging, as inventive as it is beauteous. His pencils are a tighter variation of the style implored by such artists as Michael Golden and Tom Raney, but with amazingly insightful design sensibilities on characters, clothing and buildings, etc, that are all his own. I am shocked that (A) he is doing this level of work without a couple of decades of experience behind him, and (B) that he is not already chained into a collaboration with Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison or the like on some big industry-redefining project. He is a master craftsman, and his page layouts and choreography alone are at the top of the field. Over the tight line work is an appropriately rough inking style that gives this darkened world the shadowy grime it demands. This guy is on par with the very best that the largest comic book publishers have to offer, with no glitches or shortcuts anywhere to be found. And he is greatly matched with the hues of Rator, who adds capable and brushy flow that enlivens these characters by a full dimension. Moody overall, but wholly warranted for the otherworldly narrative. And Brisson is one whose name I have seen on many small press books, and his style here is focused and ideal for the subject matters. Total pro.
Raven Nevermore: Days of Yore is a dark fable with tough characters and beautiful characters and strange characters. There is an approach to nightmare and magic in these pages that is rarely seen outside of the original pulp masters of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. It is very much the real deal- absolutely top notch professional quality at every conceivable and inconceivable level, from every single blessed contributing party. Raven Nevermore is a master’s blending of the best aspects of the most intriguing genres, filtered through the creation and packaging of Nuno Teixeira into a thing unmatched in overall quality or shear imagination by too many of the comic books produced today, anywhere. Do not dare pass on the kind of brilliance that happens once in a blue moon.
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