THE FEARSCAPE by Ryan O'Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, & Vladimir Popov
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
THE FEARSCAPE is off to an amazing start. Henry Henry considers his literary authority better than everyone else, although he isn't that great. O'Sullivan perfectly illustrates who Henry Henry is, and sets us up for a hero's journey with the wrong hero. Mutti and Popov's art gives us reality, while O'Sullivan's words give us Henry's delusions. While I'd like to know more about the supporting characters, the story is set up to succeed.
98 %
Beware, Ye Who Enter Here
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Sometimes, in life, we make the wrong turns. With GPS, getting lost is something that is more difficult to do. But for Henry Henry, ending up in the wrong place is more like a talent. THE FEARSCAPE by Ryan O’Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, and Vladimir Popov gives us a story about making the wrong turn into the wrong adventure.

Once in a lifetime, The Muse travels to Earth to find our greatest Storyteller. The Muse takes the storyteller to the Fearscape, a realm that holds our greatest fears and creatures beyond imagination. The Storytellers need to battle these creatures that have a direct connection to our reality. However, Henry Henry, a plagiarist with delusions of grandeur, has assumed the identity of the person who was supposed to be our greatest Storyteller.

The Fearscape
Image courtesy of Vault Comics

The Wrong Hero Answers the Call to Adventure

Henry Henry is a down on his luck writer. That is, if you can even call him a writer. Henry is a plagiarist, taking plots and stories from friend Arthur Proctor and trying to pass them as his own. Although Proctor and Henry have the same Agent, it seems the similarities in their careers stop there.

Proctor is the Storyteller of our time. It’s no wonder The Muse leaves the Fearscape in search of Proctor. However, The Muse accidentally mistakes Henry for the Storyteller. Henry knows of The Muse’s mistakes, but cannot pass up the opportunity to be called the greatest Storyteller of our time. Little does he know, he has stepped into a story that he may not be able to escape from.

The greatest Storyteller of our time also works as a savior of Humanity within the Fearscape. Everything that happens in the Fearscape has a parallel within reality. Only this amazing Storyteller is able to save us. Unfortunately, Henry is our only chance of survival.

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Henry Henry – Writer or Liar?

O’Sullivan does an amazing job building Henry Henry. From the first page, readers are aware of the type of person Henry is, which is a liar. Everything down to Henry’s name seems more like an unoriginal copy of something better. O’Sullivan does an amazing job creating a character that I absolutely cannot stand, but simultaneously love. Henry is the perfect unreliable narrator.

Henry Henry is a compulsive liar. Everything he says and thinks seems to run counter to what is happening on the page. Mutti does an amazing job helping O’Sullivan build Henry. Mutti’s art counters the dialogue O’Sullivan provides. When The Muse enters Henry’s home, we get great detail from Henry about the impression The Muse gives. However, we also see that The Muse openly asks for Arthur Proctor, yet Henry responds that he is Proctor. Henry’s thoughts in this moment cover The Muse’s words, almost like Henry’s trying to cover his own lies. While reading this moment, it seemed like Henry’s thoughts on reality were overpowering what was actually happening in front of him.

The only thing I was a little sad about was not getting to know the other characters. One character in particular is Jill Proctor, Arthur Proctor’s daughter. We get an idea of who Jill is, but it is never as in depth as our look at Henry. When she walks in on Henry in her father’s den, we learn that she stands up to Henry (who apparently finds himself in Proctor’s den often). However, being a first issue, our sole focus should remain on the main character. As the series goes, we are sure to learn more about all of these characters.

The Fearscape
Image courtesy of Vault Comics

Dark Reality, Bright Fantasy

Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov do an amazing job with this story. The way their art counters O’Sullivan’s story creates the perfect image of showing who Henry Henry thinks he is. And, although I haven’t mentioned much of it, the difference between reality and The Fearscape is beautiful.

Reality is drawn and colored in a seemingly bland way. Mutti maintains a style that is realistic, giving us a place in which we can relate. Popov balances this with muted tones. Browns, grays, and olives keep reality seemingly plain and ordinary. Mutti keeps straight lines and angles, giving us a perspective that mirrors reality. By contrast, the Fearscape is made up of shades of purples and blues. However, Popov keeps the ominous tone by using an undertone of gray. We get the idea that, although this is a fantasy realm, it’s not the good type of fantasy. Mutti’s drawings of the creatures within the Fearscape are sharp, having fur that looks more like it would cut your hand if you reached out to them. It all draws back to the Fearscape containing our greatest fears.

But not everything from the Fearscape is ominous. When we first meet The Muse, she exudes a radiant light. Henry describes her as being beautiful beyond words, and Mutti and Popov do an amazing job capturing it. When stepping into the room, The Muse lights the room in a brilliant, yellow light. This yellow stands out strongly against both reality and the Fearscape. It makes The Muse a beacon, providing possible hope for humanity… if The Muse had taken a real Storyteller to this mythical realm, that is.

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Overall, You Need THE FEARSCAPE

THE FEARSCAPE is absolutely a comic you need to pick up. Henry Henry is a character that you will love yet despise. But it’s characters like these that give us more humanized experiences. Ryan O’Sullivan is a masterful storyteller, creating a hero’s journey that has already started off on the wrong foot. Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov do an excellent job balancing Henry’s reality versus the true reality. Although we don’t get to see much of the other characters just yet, we have a clear idea of who Henry Henry is, and that his story is going to be extremely tough.

The comic releases on September 26th. Be sure to mark your calendars!

2 Comments

  1. […] 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 […]

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  2. […] O’Sullivan talks about his newest work, THE FEARSCAPE. The story centers on Henry Henry, a plagiarist who is faking his way to destruction. And not just […]

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