by Curt Pires, David Rubin and Michael Garland
The creative team behind The Fiction have certainly proven that they have the voice and approach for the flow of the story well established in just these first few issues. The book transitions between the real world and fantasy, as well as the past and present so efficiently. Pires’s control over the script and Rubin and Garland’s choices on art styles make for a seamless flow across the book. With the third issue, the momentum of the story has really picked up and the stakes for the group continue to rise.
The Fiction opens its third issue with another panoramic panel that finds characters overlooking the world in awe before shifting back to the present narrative. Rubin and Garland use this technique in each issue and, in book ending the issue in such a way, do an excellent job of building curiosity and wonder for the reader. Pires’s ideas are wonderful, expansive and abstract, and Rubin and Garland seem to effortlessly capture them on the page. As a result, the book is an immersive reading experience. When the panels shift to a more classic, grid-like formation, and the colors shift to a more washed out style, readers can feel the change as much as they see it. In moments of terror, Rubin’s designs of these bizarre creatures, along with Garland’s wonderful choices fuse to make for some stunning panels. In this issue, the characters come across someone they have not seen in a long time, and there is a real tragedy to the story.
What has been impressive since the beginning is Pires’s approach to blending homage with his own nuance as the book has familiar elements with classic tales of imagination and foreign worlds. The story acknowledges these works, and the book that the kids use as a portal into the other world suggests that all these stories have created a universe of all fictional works. As a result, it is able to adopt some elements of these works as part of the narrative as they exist within it as well. Here, Pires mentions Lewis Carroll, Wonderland, and the idea of the nothingness that fascinated the writer, while simultaneously adopting that as a central element to the narrative for The Fiction. The multi-layered story is wonderfully creative and engaging. As the characters return to the world and realize a power they had not known they had previously, readers also learn more about the darkness at the center and the greater forces at play. And just when the reader becomes aware of how Kassie, Max and the group are merely pieces being moved about, the story actually includes a game of chess being played. Pires has a bit of fun, addressing the tactic he has employed head on.
There is no question that the creative team behind The Fiction have their story well under control. The entire reading experience is well crafted and singular in its vision. The book continues to be a wonderful piece of originality that finds a way to raise the bar each and every time.