While everyone loves a good superhero story, sometimes it's refreshing to discover a different kind of genre and world—one that embraces the fantastical with a lighthearted touch. That describes Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd's new Image Comics series Inkblot perfectly. Those who embark on this adventure will find an upbeat and chaotic adventure featuring a well-meaning sorceress and a reality-bending cat, though you'll need to overlook a rather slow start and a flood of lore before getting to the good stuff.
Now, I'm not saying that all of the lore isn't necessary for context, especially since the family tree seems so important to the overall story. It's just how those details are conveyed that proves to be a central issue.
The comic is front-loaded, introducing you to the world in general, several specific realms, an entire family, and what they've each gone on to do before even really offering an up-close look at the main character. That's a shame because once she actually arrives it's smooth sailing from there on out.
When the sorceress debuts, readers quickly learn how monotonous life has become for her—always chronicling, but never experiencing like the rest of her family, and that's enough to get the gist and move forward. Then readers meet the adorable cat from nowhere. The story becomes a wild chase through time and space, though the cat's mannerisms and traits (which any cat owner will immediately identify with) ground those larger than life elements.
This is where the comic gets fun, with portals to other realms, giants, and magic all propelling the two leads into new and exciting territory. The dynamic between the two is hilarious at points, as the cat's playful demeanor makes for some splendid moments as the sorceress just tries to keep them from destroying precious artifacts or, you know, opening up a portal to another realm. Her nicknames elicit several smiles too, as does her overall attitude and dialogue with the cat, with the furry fiend only offering up a single "mow" in response.
On the visuals side, Inkblot is a bit of a mixed bag. Those adventure segments are bright, colorful and feature well-paced action. There are several standalone panels that really deliver a strong effect, like the introduction of the giants, the wide shot of the library, and just about anytime the adorable cat is in focus. Outside of those specific points, though, the visuals don't leave a big impression. That's disappointing, especially because of the sheer potential this premise opens up. The art's not a negative either, mind you, but it won't be the reason you return for another issue.
In spite of some lackluster panels and a generally slow start not quite hitting the mark, the second half of Inkblot #1 shows immense promise. Readers will find it difficult not to smile and laugh a few times before the issue comes to a close. The dynamic duo at the heart of the story are enough to justify the price of admission, and the future for Inkblot seems pretty damn bright.
Published by Image Comics0comments
On September 2, 2020
Created by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd