By Daniel Vlasaty
Did you ever think about what you would do if you suddenly ruled an entire world? Like, if you were given immense power, what would be the first thing you’d do? Would you use that power to make the world a better place or would you use it to make your own life better? These are the thoughts I was left with after finishing Maestros #2. And I think it’s safe to say that I would be the worst person to be put into a position of that kind of power. I imagine that I would fuck everything up very quickly.
Which is maybe not the case for Will as he begins his reign as Maestro of The Realms. He’s got a lot of plans – things he’s been thinking and dreaming about most of his life – and now he’s finally got the power and the platform to implement them. And they’re all aimed at the greater good. At equality. In Will’s world everyone is operating on a leveled playing field – except for him of course. Everyone has power, just not as much power as Will himself has. And I can’t help but think about Animal Farm here. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” But whatever. The Realms are not perfect, I guess. Like everywhere – someone has to be in charge, right? On top of that all of Will’s new reforms are making a lot of people and creatures pretty upset. He’s disturbing the status quo – destroying the very evident separation between classes.
I will say that Steve Skroce is taking this book places I was not expecting it to go. Even though I’m not sure what I was expecting of it. But it just seems kind of refreshing. The writing isn’t overly complex – which is something that generally turns me off when it comes to fantasy books. There’s a wit to the writing that is also something I don’t think I was expecting.
This is the second issue which means establishing more rules for the world and introducing us to a shit-ton of new characters. And the characters here are well-defined. There are very clear “good guys” and “bad guys”. There’s the love interest and – of course – that shit gets super complicated very fucking fast. If you’re at all familiar with my other reviews then you probably know that I tend to hate that forced-upon “love interest” side story bullshit that most writers wedge into their stories. But it actually kind of works here. Because it starts out normal – two people who clearly have feelings for each other and are re-introduced after some years apart – but that shit is quickly pushed aside for something that took me by surprise. Again, I am interested to see how this all plays out.
As much as I was digging the story, it’s the art that’s the best thing this book has going for it. Skroce’s art is so good it’s not even funny. If I had to compare it to any other artist, just for the sake of reference, it reminded me a lot of Geof Darrow’s work. Hyper-detailed. Everything is complex – in a good way – and fully realized. The character designs are top-notch. The line work is solid and Dave Stewart’s colors are bright and fitting. Seriously, the art’s too fucking good for me to do it any justice in describing it to you. Do yourself a favor and buy this freaking book and experience it for yourself.
Maestros #2 is some good shit. Strong writing and beautiful art make this book a thoroughly enjoyable read. Like with the first issue I did not know what to expect going into this book. All I do know is that I was not expecting to like it as much as I did.