Writer: J.T. Krul
Art: Giuseppe Cafaro
Colors: Wes Hartman
Publisher: ASPEN COMICS
Mal wanted to go out, but Rainer gives him a big, fat no to that. So, instead of going out to see his friends, Mal invites Sonia, PJ and Benoist over to his place. The four have some fun as Benoist walks around, only to meet up with Onyx in a very brutal way. Meanwhile, we see that Rainer has captured those who would help the Samusara reach their potential, just as they have for centuries. Rainer’s plan has been particularly intricate as he has Grace join the rest of his prisoners. Yet, all his prisoners are about to be freed.
The only gripe I have is that Cafaro’s line work is just inconsistent. While this issue still has some of his more consistent work since the series started, there are still times where panels just seemed to be quickly cobbled together while other panels are quite beautiful. And while the panels that look like they were quickly rendered are very few, there are still some there that could have looked better with a bit more time.
While the cliffhanger was good, I gotta say that Onyx attacking Benoist is definitely the moment I loved most here.
Cafaro’s art might be inconsistent, but the majority of the issue’s art was quite good. Cafaro continues to use his art to create some dynamic perspectives for readers to truly get drawn in by. Sonia, Mal and PJ jumping in the pool was superb while the prisoners’ panels were actually quite lovely. The final panel was also masterfully done. I particularly enjoy the use of silouettes as it happened before the final pop, showing Mal’s powers. Hartman’s colors are very choice this issue and help bring out Cafaro’s line work. It also does a fantastic job setting tone of Rainer’s main headquarters. The darker colors and the sterile looking browns and grays really make the area feel that much more like a prison. It works well to suck other readers in. The lettering from Zen was great. I enjoy that Zen experiments with the lettering in order to give certain characters a more mystical/otherworldly feel to them. Doing that with Onyx works well, because I’m expecting her voice isn’t quite something that normal people are used to hearing.
Krul crafts a wonderful follow up issue to the revelations brought out last issue. We see the full extent of Rainer’s lengths to keep Mal under his thumb last issue and we see the effects of it this issue. Mal clearly feels like a prisoner himself, but one that seemingly being held by choice. The fact that Rainer is barely in the issue, but still has a presence throughout it speaks volumes on the well-crafted characterization done by Krul. Mal gets to open up this issue and Krul makes sure his friends are all there, even if this is a new beginning. The chemistry between the group is wonderful to see and we clearly see that the seeds of this group being close like they were in the previous continuity is coming. Krul lays out what Rainer has done, but also sets up freedom for his prisoners as well as a showdown. Krul does this in a fun way that wasn’t so predictable. He does a good job of making readers invested in the characters while advancing plot organically.
All New Soulfire # 4 (vol. 6) was a wonderful issue that gave you more insight to characters while setting up the climax for this volume. It seems like all the players are going to come together soon as Rainer cannot hide Mal’s destiny much longer. Battles are starting or about to start between the two factions and Krul masterful sets everything up with ease while still being intriguing. Cafaro’s art, while having a few inconsistencies, is still very enjoyable and does some very wonderful work with perspectives. Hartman’s colors are still top notch, bringing out the best of any line work in front of him and Zen’s lettering is superb. Solid book over all.