TCESNI City… A City that doesn’t remember… A city readers will never forget!
I would love to call Widow’s Web Raven Gregory’s triumphant return, but to say that would imply that he left. In the last year, I have re-read The Gift, The Waking and Fly – all of these are personal favorites (all three easily rank in my personal top ten list of self-contained storyline series). And while it’s true that Mr. Gregory has taken some time off, his creative influence never left for the readers (at least readers who care more about story and characters rather than big cross-over events – sorry Marvel/DC). In my opinion, he is far away one of the most gifted, creative and instinctual writers presently working. He creates new interesting trails in genres that most fans have though have already been thoroughly explored. Alright, enough of the creator crushing… onto the book.
Widow’s Web takes place in TCESNI City – a modern dark noir-esque urban landscape that is a refuge for a recently post-war society that is looking for nothing more than distractions – it is filled with clubs, bars, spooky-ass abandon carnivals and has a violent history that only the hardened wise remember and take heed of. It would seem that TCESNI City is amorphic and mysterious in nature and the majority of the population has never even questioned why they stay there or have any thoughts bigger than the enticement of the right now – they are so wrapped-up in self-indulgence and self-pity that they haven’t looked at the big picture (note: if you didn’t notice it is insect spelled backwards). Most of the book takes place in The Bad Barrel Bar, which is one part dance club, one part road house and one part House of Secrets.
And while the setting is the perfect blend of defined and unknown, the characters we meet at The Bad Barrel are really the reason I can’t wait to read issue #2. The staff and management of The Bad Barrel are a great synthesis of relatable and untouchable. The owner, Jewel, is very driven and has the style and personally of a steel stiletto. The two bartenders / waitresses, Tissa and Dahilia, are fun and playful flirt-kitten types but hide very dark secrets. The bouncer Roach is an matchless tank of a man who may have the most patience and sympathy of the lot. The patrons the readers meet are a mixture of pleasure-driven and naïve – which is a less than ideal combination for long term survival in this place. We meet and follow one particular group of underage drinkers who are looking for a good time – who go from getting kicked out of the Bad Barrel to finding confirmation of TCESNI’s horrible past and possibly having their last good time ever.
Co-authors Raven Gregory and Autumn Ivy do an outstanding job of manipulating and amalgamating known archetypes and plot devices and creating a thriller-esque / horror book worth reading. This is exactly the high level of quality book / series I would expect out of Raven Gregory’s creator-owned publishing house. I am unfamiliar with Ms. Ivy’s previous work, but given what I have seen here – I would buy a book sight unseen if I knew she had written it. I am familiar with both Ian Snyder’s work (Artist) from his projects at Big Dog Ink and Liezl Buenavetura’s work (colorist) from another fav of mine Zenescope’s The Jungle Book – their combined incredible talents mesh together here well creating a gorgeous yet dark and eerie backdrop of the tale.
Between the character-driven story, the enthralling big picture, awesome visuals and the brilliant setting – Widow’s Web is THE book to read in 2015! If this issue is any evidence of things to come, then I predict that Broken Butterfly Comics will soon be your new favorite publisher.
The Bottom line: Nothing short of brilliant all the way around. Any fan of a good enthralling story will want to read this! Put it at the top of your pull list!