Rick Remender and André Lima Araújo's new Image Comic series has been a five star title since its first issue and the third continues its streak of perfect scores at ComicBook.com. Telling the tale of an unassuming man that finds himself drawn into the underground world of dark web assassins and wealthy exhibitionists, A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance came out of the gates swinging and hasn't stopped throwing hands as Remender and Araújo have clearly planned out every corner of this world. Where issue #3 takes its narrative remains as unexpected as ever but also pushes things into the form of what we recognize as a traditional crime story, but what it also tells us is that we can never expect where this world will go.
I want to spend much of this review praising a key aspect of André Lima Araújo's artwork that is a focal point of issue #3, the architecture. Locations and setting have been a pillar of this series since it started but the new issue explores a variety of places with the architecture of these locations being an integral piece of the visual storytelling. In the opening pages we travel to French Polynesia, nearly 5,000 miles away from the Vancouver setting of the rest of the series. These opening pages give us more context as to the types of people that we're dealing with in the entire series, namely those that are so wealthy the rules do not apply to them.
Araújo clues us into this implication by the first page, showing an extravagant island compound in the first panel that looks to be part fortress and part game of Tetris. The walls are made out of symmetrical blocks but Araújo uses this pattern to give the images depth, to draw our yes to the entirety of the image. As the scene continues we go inside and see how these debaucherous examples of wealthy people choose to party, putting women in skimpy outfits and having some sit around like furniture pieces for their own pleasure. In contrast to this is the architecture of the victim in the issue, which stands as a typical, gungy apartment. Araújo uses the square trick again though in a key fight sequence to draw our eyes to the important pieces of movement, showcasing what we're supposed to watch by framing it around the tile floor of a kitchen.
The action is another tremendous aspect of this series that we must also highlight. There is enough detail in the static imagery that when panels are dedicated to movement in its fight scenes and action beats there's a shift in the image. A background image that was clear and concise before, pointing us to the important world clues as outlined above, becomes a solid color to emphasize injury or it becomes a flurry of lines that emphasize specific movement. Araújo's work is so clear and concise that it's impossible to not be fully invested in tune with what you're reading. I'd be remiss to not shout out colorist Chris O'Halloran in this moment as well, whose choices further solidify the textures of the image while also helping to give an emotional baseline to these sequences.
A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance is a breath of fresh air because of the risks it takes but also because of how it's willing to meet the reader on its own storytelling terms. It uses the medium of comics in the best possible way, words and pictures working together in tandem, with the necessary details that the other cannot provide brought forth by its partner. Araújo's breathtaking art is not covered by needless word balloons and Remender's dialogue gives us the beats from its characters that enhance what we can see in their faces. This is a masterclass in comic book storytelling so far.
Published by Image Comics
On December 22, 2021
Written by Rick Remender
Art by André Lima Araújo
Colors by Chris O'Halloran
Letters by Rus Wooten
Cover by André Lima Araújo and Chris O'Halloran