Tuesday 21 November 2017

Book Review: Jim Balent - 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'


'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106'

Dark fantasy acquires a new definition in the latest issue of 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose', created by Jim Balent, a Halloween themed chapter in the adventures of the Swordmaiden of the Goddess in which she faces the spirit of the festivity itself.

Tarot, her sister Raven Hex, her husband Jon Webb, and her former lover, Boo Cat, have a not so pleasant meeting with the Spirit of Halloween as it takes a ride across Salem, turning people’s costumes into their real selves as long as the day lasts.

The witchy sisters find themselves caught on a delicate situation when the city is completely turned upside down, now inhabited by monsters, demons and every creature they could have thought about to dress like during the festivity, even worse when they have to come face-to-face with an enraged group of werewolves on their own.

Such a simple story is enough for Balent to create an interesting episode on the ongoing comic series, showing that it’s not always mandatory to overthink ideas, and that sometimes it takes only an interesting plot twist near to the end to produce an entertaining piece such as this issue.

'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose' has been known for combining erotic art with dark fantasy and some touches of gore now and then, elements very present in this issue #106 and that fight between themselves to have the perfect balance. I’d say that there was more of the first, but you never know what can happen in the next chapter, which is one of the best aspects of this comic!

As always, the level of detail in each of the issues is surprising, making it worth the two months of wait between each of them, with all of the pieces in their rightful places and an incredible colouring that can only captivate the eye of the reader. Followers of the series will be even more bewitched!

The shadows play a major role in this chapter, not only as an element of art but also as part of the narrative, making it all look gloomier than usual, and even giving its body to the Spirit of Halloween, a character I’m sure many of us will want to see again in the future!

I will only complain about the simple backgrounds on some of the panels, something that has changed gradually issue after issue. Doesn’t mean you don’t get Gods-like detailed environments anymore, but that the single coloured panels behind dark shadows are becoming more usual than I’d like to see.

As for the rest, this stand-alone issue was enough for me to remember why I fell in love with Tarot, her whole squad and entire universe, filled with seductive characters and ferocious beasts, as well as being a very well-inspired reflection on the Wicca religion and what it stands for. It’s great to see another kind of witches around beside those that sold their souls to the Devil.

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