Writer: Trevor Landolt
Artists: Jeanine Henning (p & colors), Rita Conradie (i),
Publisher: Praxis Comics
As SBC’s (self appointed) "Trier of Indie Newzies" (i.e. he who tries and, most often than not, reviews one-shots, minis, and ongoings from independent comic publishers), I would like to kick off the new year with an upcoming offering from yet another newcomer to the comic world, the South African founded and based Praxis Comics. Founded by Jeanine Henning and Trevor Landolt, PC’s first offering, Scarlett’s Curse has both Henning (pencils, colours) and Landolt (writing) on it, with Rita Conradie providing the crisp inking to Henning’s pencilwork.
Now that initial introductory session is over, let me get down to the nitty-gritty, and in keeping with my usual curmudgeon self, having read this issue, I did have a couple of points of contention. However, even from those two, just one remained after I checked up on Praxis’s site and found that Scarlett's Curse #1 will provide this issue #0 FREE. (My copy, an "advance" one, is courtesy of Praxis.) This takes care of the feeling of "That’s it?" I got after reading the entire issue. The story premise and initial build up had me looking for more, both about the main character (Scarlett) and about the back story (the past). Those reading both issues #0 and #1 won’t have this problem. Then again, if issue #0 is anything like this one, they might have that hankering pushed forth to the last page of that one.
The story in issue #0 is pretty much a playing out of the initial premise (described on Praxis’s Official Website). It is split into two halves. Told concurrently yet separately, the first half sets up the "Curse" while the second one introduces us to "Scarlett," her supporting cast and the man who she will be meeting soon and who will help her on the journey that her curse will take her. As for the characters themselves, as expected, Scarlett is the one we get to know/see most, with Cahor (he is the one who "released" the demons and brought about the curse), Scarlett’s father and brother, her friend Johnny and the as yet unnamed old-man making up the remaining "appearance" rankings. Perhaps the best thing that struck me about Scarlett is her relationship with her family, especially her brother Luke. Not only does she understand, Scarlett also tries to help Luke (by alleviating his morale/spirits) from under the pressure their father has on him.
Even though it wasn’t necessarily 100% original, the core plotline of Scarlett’s Curse interested me enough to get me thinking about a possible Video Game adaptation. This I blame to Warhammer 40,000 #1 and Hellgate: London #1, two video game inspired/based comics. This might also be due to Jeanine Henning’s art style. Even though the over abundance of dark shades did serve to work against the pencils and inks for my visual tastes (even more so having seen the three B&W pages on the company website), it once again, had me going back to my aforementioned, video game thoughts.
Conclusion: As for further comments about the story plot and writing, those I will hold out until I get my hands on and read issue #1, for, just with any other zero issue, Scarlett’s Curse #0 is (and should be taken as) more of a teaser than an actual issue. However, unlike another zero issue I read not long ago, this one actually is relevant to the story at hand and not just, well, whatever the #0 issue of DC's latest JLA series was.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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