I’ll admit I was in danger of doing just that with this issue, but Brandon Brayton keeps a good enough rein on his tale that it never let my attention slip, and when the reveal zigged when I would have wagered a zag for sure, it made me appreciate not only the story, but the storyteller all the more.
A great story is often like a river: Its course can meander and weave through each telling, but always there’s the main course moving its way mostly intact. Sure, a tributary may add a character or a location may be cut off in an oxbow, but the story itself is refined, with unnecessary things being left on the bank while becoming its purest version. Like a river, this process is never complete, but you can recognize a tale that’s touched many shores of human thought. It’s as if you can almost tell it yourself the first time you hear it, it simply feels right in that way. Brayton’s pace allows for that feeling to be fully present, walking alongside the tale as if we were remembering it from childhood. (Honestly, I don’t think I’d ever heard this particular tale before.)
The artwork certainly helps the quasi-nostalgia, very reminiscent of the Little Golden books but with a more vibrant personality behind it. I really enjoy the style; it breathes a unique and antiquated life into the story that sets the tone beautifully. There’s a subtle power that mirrors an illuminated script, providing something vaguely impressionistic that launches you on every page. The compositions balance this well, adding tension with just the right mix of “what’s next?”
This is a great addition to the Storyteller line, and Brayton's is a voice in the comics world that I will be listening to closely in the future.
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