Summons #1 tells the story of Kristine Helios, a high school girl who finds herself caught up in the middle of a supernatural battle that has been raging for millennia.
Summons #1 (Hound Comics)
I am a huge fan of the supernatural genre. I enjoyed Charmed and most recently was drawn to 13 Coins. It is my enjoyment of the genre which led me to find Summons. However, much like 13 Coins I find myself disappointed.
Chris L. Williams crafts a very good hook, introducing us to a very strong and confident heroine who is being stalked by beastly monsters. Kristine Helios is not threatened or intimidated by these monsters and if she is, it’s only for a fleeting moment. She is focused. She has a mission and these monsters will not stand in her way. She must recover the Book of Summons. In order to detail all of this, Williams uses an internal monologue to provide exposition. There is no mystery or build-up. He is straightforward with how the world works and what Kristine’s powers are. It quickly acclimates you to the world, but takes away the mystery of discovery.
After this initial hook, Williams flashbacks to Kristine’s high school days. She is no longer depicted as a strong, confident warrior. Instead, she is an easily annoyed teenager who erupts upon overhearing typical high school gossip. Her reaction eventually leads her into a very contrived meeting with her boy crush. The dialogue is fitting for teenagers who are crushing on each other because it is extremely awkward, which it should be. It comes off naturally. What makes this part of the sequence unbearable is her boy crush’s extreme emotional fluctuation. He goes from happy go lucky to funeral sadness. It is too drastic of a shift and it is rather unclear as to why the shift took place. It creates a little bit of mystery that had not been there previously.
Williams wraps up the book much like he opened it. He repeats much of his previous exposition and adds some minor twists. There is one big difference: Kristine is introduced to the supernatural world rather than already being a part of it.
Williams’ artwork reminds me a lot of World of Warcraft. It is a tad cartoony. He does a good job of creating unique, identifiable characters with their own style. His action sequences are exciting. He uses slanted panels much like Doug Braithwaite does in Imperium to highlight the motion and quicken your reading to speed up the pacing. He uses quite a number of splash pages to great effect. There is one depicting three villains where he is able to be a tad creative with their design and look. They are truly demonic.
Victor Bartlett’s colors, much like WoW, are bright and pop the artwork off the page. He uses colors to also create emotion. This is on full display when Kristine becomes outraged about her classmates’ gossiping. He uses a bright yellow that fades into orange around her showing her anger, although a red might have been better to capture this emotion.
Williams’ used some interesting lettering techniques. He put in a notepad background to depict Kristine’s thoughts while she was in school; however, he also outlined the girls’ gossip with a dashed line that draws your attention away from the artwork and the dialogue inside the word bubbles.
Summons #1 by Chris L. Williams, Jake Isenberg, and Victor Bartlett started off well but slowly petered out with repetitive exposition and some odd dialogue between Kristine and her crush. The big killer was the amount of writing. There was a lot. Instead of letting the artwork help tell the story it was more of a backdrop to Williams’ narrative. I did enjoy his artwork although it may not be for everyone as it has a cartoony, WoW-like feel. I did enjoy the multitude of different page layouts and many of the splash pages did what they were supposed to.
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