Monday 8 January 2018

Book Review: Jim Balent – 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #107'

'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #107'

There are times in life when the best thing ever reaches a strange place which you don’t really know how to classify if not as a “comfort zone”. I’ve been a fan of Jim Balent’s 'Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose' since I first discovered this comic, but Winter-themed issues have been playing with the same pot and character for a while; since 2014, to be specific.

Before anyone says anything about me complaining, I love the characters, I love the magic in each issue, I love the overall story so far and I wouldn’t stop reading this comic for anything, but the overused topic of the Krampus has become somewhat tiresome after so many issues, making it predictable that he is most likely to appear in November when the Winter has come.

Just for the record, the Krampus is the total opposite of Santa Claus. He doesn’t come to give, but to take. He either punishes the bad children for their bad behaviour or takes them to a place no one knows and no one escapes from. If listening to that story doesn’t make you be a good kid, I don’t know what will.

As for Tarot and her enchanting world, the Krampus has been challenged by Tarot and her family many times in past with no result. There’s no difference in Issue #107, with the sole change that there is some character development for both Tarot and Jon and gorgeous art you don’t get tired of looking at.

I fell in love with this issue because of the colours, the shadows, the editing and the drawing, but the story itself is pretty simple, not as complex and interesting as in past proposals. A couple of monsters, magic here and there and a nice touch of violence that should be better developed in the future to make sense.

The whole issue can be read with no problem, it is fast, it is quick, fluent and entertaining, remaining loyal to the core of a dark fantasy, sexual series just like Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is, but it also fails in terms of originality or actual interesting content, not considering the scene-twist and the dialogues.

We are about to see the next chapter in Jim Balent’s creation, which looks promising so far. It would be interesting to see what happens after such a hard time for the characters in this issue, and I’m sure both Balent and Holly (colouring and lettering) will have a great redemption for Issue #107, just like that have always done.

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