The best that I can say for this final issue of Cloaks is that prior to reading it I didn’t think I could possibly be as disappointed as I was after having read it. While the comic had its brief moments of intrigue and humor, it never seemed to live up to the initial premise’s storytelling potential. This issue fails mostly due to its concern with setting up a potential follow-up to this story rather than devoting the entire issue to Adam and Evy’s current battle of wits, their relationship arguably the best part of this comic. What space Caleb Monroe and Mariano Navarro devote to Adam and Evy’s fight sparks with a level of energy unmatched elsewhere in this comic. Both characters possess a level of interest in the other that’s charming and dangerous in a lighthearted noir manner, and it’s fun to read as each tries to outsmart the other, the tensest scene an argument about whether or not Evy’s gun is loaded. Once the fight comes to an end though, the last few pages are entirely devoted to a drawn out dénouement (bringing out the nice words today) that sheds new light on a previous scene in what the creators try to pass off as a clever move, but really just looks like a cheap Oceans 11 final act reveal.
Another thing I find intriguing about this comic overall is that I could never determine its target demographic. At times it seems targeted towards adults due its focus on adult relationships, and issues most children would be unfamiliar with. However, the story sometimes often relies on simple genre conventions in a manner that makes me wonder whether I’m way above the target demographic, and perhaps that’s part of the reason I’m left a bit cold on this comic (or perhaps it’s just not well-written).
Since the first issue, the focus on illusions has mostly disappeared. In its place instead we got a police procedural that uses Adam’s unique skill set to add stylistic flourishes. One scene in this issue particularly de-skills Adam to the level of hustler magician as opposed to the prodigy he seemed to be in the first issue. Whereas we got a disappearing bull statue there, this time around we got a lame card trick that neither added to the story or gave us something interesting to look at.
Perhaps if Cloaks gets another miniseries, things will pick up now that the characters have started to acquire some personality. Even if it featured the second coming of Houdini though, I don’t think anything less than having my body sawed in half and the upper part forced to read through the next volume would convince me to give it a shot.
Writer: Caleb Monroe Artist: Mariano Navarro Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/3/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital