Have you ever thanked a creator/publisher for a comic that you have the pleasure of reading every month? I have. A couple of times. I’ll make sure to thank these guys. I haven’t enjoyed reading a single issue of a comic book series this much, since… well I won’t say. It’s been a while. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid have outdone themselves this month. I have been extremely busy and didn’t get around to reading this issue as quickly as I wanted, but the anticipation definitely made this story all the sweeter. Even the backup by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro blew me away. After I didn’t show much interest in last month’s backup starring The Shield (sorry, guys), Dean Haspiel told me to be patient. That the story being told here would definitely be worth it. That it was crucial in the overall development of the book as a whole. I think that I’m starting to understand where he was coming from. I was incredibly impressed with this issue of The Fox. But this intro has gone on long enough.
The King of Diamonds has been captured and transformed by the barbaric tyrant known only as the Druid. And The Fox is The Queen’s last hope in rescuing her husband. Every other hero who has attempted to defeat the Druid has failed, and been captured. He has used his ancient evil magic to perform horrific genetic experiments on them. Armed only with the Queen’s staff and witty self-sustaining sarcasm, it doesn’t look like The Fox has much of a chance to succeed. But not all hope is lost. The Fox is not alone in this dangerous world. Other heroes dwell here as well. If only he could convince them that he’s on their side.
Let’s start with the script here. I am not usually one to laugh out loud while reading. Ever. Maybe a few times a year. Even when I do, it’s more of a slight chuckle, or something to myself. No one else would normally be able to hear it. I laughed out loud three times during this issue. Three. That’s a lot. I have to give credit to Mark Waid for getting me to lighten up after such a stressful day. The narration was beautifully written and The Fox’s conversation with himself throughout kept me interested from the beginning. Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that the first page is The Fox holding his own head. If you’re lost, refer to last month’s issue. I never thought that I would say this, but I may have found a replacement to fill that void after Peter Parker’s unfortunate “death” or whatever the hell that was, all those months ago. The Fox is here to stay, folks.
Now let’s talk about Dean Haspiel’s art. This creative team has developed a world where it would be impossible for Dean’s work to go unnoticed. There are two particular pages that really stand out, but if you know me at all by now, you’ll know that I don’t ever want to give anything away. You’ll know it when you see it. Although, I would be discrediting the writer if I didn’t say that the combination of the dialogue and art in those specific pages didn’t make it complete. I’ll give you a hint. It’s a two page spread. There. Some of Dean’s best work resides in the pages of The Fox #3. His art in this book is display quality. I’m not even sure if he realizes it or not, but this stuff really is top-notch. I’m not an artist, but I know that other artists out there are noticing this book. The word that first comes to mind is “envy”.
I touched on this slightly in the intro to this review, but the backup story is outstanding. It is really coming together. I’m just as excited for the continuation for these characters, as I am for The Fox, if not more so. The story seems familiar in a good way. It feels like I already know the characters so well, and I want to go along for the ride as long as they’ve got room in the car. I’m sure that it won’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but this issue gets a perfect score from me, and I’m honored to have had a chance to review it for the site. What a great way to close out the day.
Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Dean Haspiel Publisher: Red Circle Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/8/14