Ten year olds Max, Kassie, Tyler, and Tsang are friends bound together by one summer at a shared vacation home. Lounging in the attic to avoid dealing with their parents' drama, they come across a book that is more than it seems. Reading it aloud takes the kids to another world of crystalline harmonics and long-forgotten truths, a place where they experience an unending adventure . . . until one of them doesn’t make it back.
Now, years later, the book has made its way back into their lives, claiming another of them, leaving the last two to follow into a world that has changed significantly from the fantastic realms they remember . . . and not for the better.
Following up on his dazzling work on POP (Dark Horse) and Mayday (Black Mask Studios), writer Curt Pires unleashes a brilliant sense of unease in his latest opus. Sure, there have been stories about books that draw you in (The Neverending Story leaps quickly to mind.), but Pires' hungry tale exacts a cost for reading it. Ably drawing from the same vein as Neil Gaiman, the barely hinted at story in The Fiction may seem harmless at first, but is, apparently, anything but. The impact of that summer seems to have rippled through the remaining friends' live, calling a nice reference to Stephen King’s It. It’s going to be interesting to see how they view the memories of their childhood through the hard prism of adulthood.
David Rubin’s artwork is surprisingly complex for what looks like such simple frames. Maintaining a rigid order to the real world, he casually alters his layouts with the introduction of The Fiction world. It’s a subtle thing but so nicely done that is serves to illuminate the story that much more.
“The weight of time had degraded them, and the purity of their intention. Everything old was new again . . . and everything was broken.”
VERDICT: FOUR Dusty Gothic Magic Tomes out of FIVE
*The Fiction #1 will be released in June. Be sure to pre-order your copy at your local comic book shop by Monday, May 25.