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‘Amelia Cole and the Enemy Unleashed:’ Graphic Novel Review

Circumstances always seem to get worse before they get better, and in Amelia Cole and the Enemy Unleashed, it looks like better may be a long way off. From digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics, this third volume of the ongoing adventures of the titular hero, released in print again by IDW, comes hot on the heels of the events in Amelia Cole and the Hidden War. If The Hidden War was a spark, then The Enemy Unleashed is a roaring fire, poised to consume everything and everyone, with only Amelia and her friends standing in its way.

Created by writers Adam P. Knave, D.J. Kirkbride, and artist Nick Brokenshire, Amelia Cole is a thrilling, entertaining, unconventional, and rewarding series, full of intelligent, brave individuals, both with and without magical abilities.  While this volume does not contain much of the everyday and moves at a decidedly quicker pace, Knave and Kirkbride have set up their world so wonderfully over the last two volumes that there is a pre-existing familiarity with the characters, their environments, and their unfolding stories. This means they can jump right into the action and show how the characters are continuing to develop throughout the series. In The Enemy Unleashed, the shadowy Council that has been manipulating the Magistrate from the beginning makes its presence known, while much of its nefarious plot is still shrouded in mystery, and Amelia finds herself battling a foe far more dangerous than bureaucracy, where the stakes are constantly being raised, and innocent lives are at risk.

Brokenshire’s art is joyous as always, relaying all of the wonder and danger that Amelia’s world holds, and this volume is full of excellent close-ups that display the characters’ emotional struggles as they are thrust into a seemingly never-ending battle for survival. Amelia and Hector the former Protector’s eventual reunion is the stuff great comics are made of, where the past is always there, lurking just beneath the surface, and the characters have to work to try and unpack those riled up emotions all while fighting for their lives. Brokenshire expands on the monsters he premiered out in the Dunes of Forgiveness in The Hidden War, and here he ups the ante, instilling each monster with a true sense of menace and pure brute force.  His colors, assisted by Ruiz Moreno, explode off the page while Rachel Deering’s lettering is smooth and steady, and the work that her and Brokenshire do on the sound effects is pure excitement.

There is an incomparable vibrancy to Amelia Cole that began with the very first issue and that continues still, even when Amelia faces life or death challenges. She is a character so resilient that she inspires those around her, and they are willing to go out on a limb with her, or for her.  Amelia Cole and the Enemy Unleashed is full of action, intrigue, and impossible odds, but beating beneath all of that is a heart big enough to hug the world. Amelia Cole is about relationships, what it takes to maintain them, what happens when they fall apart, and what it means be a true friend, even to those you may not know, or may not even like. As Amelia fights, she also learns, and there are some things that magic simply cannot teach her, that she can only learn from the wisdom and experience of others, and from being honest with herself and listening to her heart. Amelia is a relatable character who entertains and encourages and always gives her all, and if you stick with her, you are sure to learn something about yourself along the way.

Tim Palmer, Fanbase Press Contributor



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