The Fearscape #3 by Ryan O'Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and AndWorld Design
Henry Henry lies to find false fame and phony fortune. But what happens when all this lying finally catches up with him? Ryan O'Sullivan brings us an installment of THE FEARSCAPE that we've been waiting for: Henry's comeuppance. Andrea Mutti keeps the narrative going, providing art that not only instills Henry's insecurities, but also gives us relief to see a fake hero feeling unsure. Vladimir Popov's colors will warm your hears to Henry's slow demise.
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All of the lies have finally caught up with him. Henry Henry is in deep, but there’s not a lot he can do. In THE FEARSCAPE #3, we see Henry’s floor of lies drop out from him. Ryan O’Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and AndWorld Design do a fantastic job of showing us what Henry’s world feels like as it all comes crashing down on him. The tones that the art, lettering, and story all create a story that flows phenomenally.

After publishing a plagiarized work, Henry hasn’t seen much success for it. However, through a crazy turn of events, the Muse helps Henry reach the writing success he’s been craving. But after one mistake, then another, then another — everything finally just falls apart.

Image courtesy of Vault Comics

What is Hardly Henry to Author Arthur?

Henry Henry has published Arthur Proctor’s book under his own name. As always, Henry has a justification. Essentially, everything Proctor wrote, Henry was going to write anyways. Because, you know, that’s how creativity works, right? Henry’s editor confronts Henry, who knows that Henry has stolen the book. Although Henry is editing their exchange for the reader, this only lasts so long before the editor calls him out on it. As it turns out, the Greatest Fear that Henry was going to face in the Fearscape has escaped and transformed into Henry’s editor.

The nicest part of this moment is someone has finally called Henry out on his bullshit. The Greatest Fear tells Henry to stop speaking over him, which finally gives us a chance to see what everyone is really saying. The Fear is in hot pursuit as Henry runs out of the coffee shop. Right before the Greatest Fear has his hands on Henry it’s stopped by The Tigers, a group of thugs that have been low-key hanging out in the background. However, even The Tigers aren’t what they appear to be, either.

When the Muse finds Henry, he’s standing over the dead Fear. The Muse believes Henry is the winner and rewards him with fame. But fame always comes at a price, especially when it’s built on a house of lies.

Image courtesy of Vault Comics

Performance in Place of Personality

Honestly, I’ve never been happier to see a character’s life fall apart than when I watched Henry’s. O’Sullivan has done a great job solidifying how we should feel about Henry, and in this issue, we get more reasons to hate him.

One of my favorite scenes is during Henry’s book signing, Arthur Proctor shows up. Arthur has nothing but good intentions and wants to congratulate Henry on his success. But we see the fear and shock in Henry as Arthur greets him. Henry knows he stole Arthur’s work, and Arthur’s presence there is a threat to Henry’s success. So naturally, Henry overreacts. And he overreacts by a lot. This is a perfect reaction for Henry to have. He’s never been the type to accept any wrongdoing. He deflects everything, ensuring anyone around him is the bad guy and he’s the victim. And in THE FEARSCAPE #3, we get Henry’s back in a corner. So every wrong decision he makes was definitely someone else’s fault.

Henry Henry is such a liar, it’s fantastic to watch. One moment where this comes up is during Henry’s book signing. A child asks “How do I become a writer?” Henry stares at him, dumbfounded and without answer. O’Sullivan has given us such a clear idea on who Henry is it’s absolutely fabulous. Our perceptions of Henry are amplified through Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov’s amazing artwork.

Image courtesy of Vault Comics

Lies that Visually Fall Apart

One of the biggest draws to THE FEARSCAPE is the art. Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov always match O’Sullivan’s pace, tone, and characters. Henry’s fear, discomfort, and deceit pair perfectly with Mutti and Popov’s art. And THE FEARSCAPE #3 is no exception.

Because Henry’s lies are starting to fall apart, the tension in the story has to be fed at an all-time high. Mutti and Popov manage to follow O’Sullivan’s pace, giving us slow, joyful scenes that are immediately followed by scenes that are fast and anxiety-ridden. When the child asks Henry how to be a writer, the look on his face is perfect. The panicked and searching face of Henry brings me life. Mutti never ceases to surprise and delight with every panel.

Mutti’s art is perfectly complimented with Vladimir Popov’s colors. The depiction of the editor changing from human into Greatest Fear is phenomenal. The Fear is depicted as a black shadow steadily growing with the Fearscape’s purple background lighting the panel up. It feels like we’re in the room with Henry as the editor changes and gets bigger. Popov maintains simplicity with watercolor monotones, but adds color during scenes of action, like when the Fear is shot. This burst of color is like a sunset against the dark purple, making the page a treat for the eyes.

Overall Thoughts on THE FEARSCAPE #3: You Need Dis

If you haven’t picked up THE FEARSCAPE yet, I don’t honestly know what you could be doing other than making a big mistake. Ryan O’Sullivan has an amazing story going, something that you’d be a fool to miss. And, with Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov’s help, it’s absolutely beautiful to look at. These creators have built a story that breaks the mold of traditional storytelling. With a dick narrator, beautiful art, and a new, inventive story, THE FEARSCAPE is something you really need in your life.

Dying for THE FEARSCAPE #3? Be sure to keep track, this issue drops December 12th. Or beat Henry to the punch and reserve your digital copy here!

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