Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Comics Review: "THE RIBBON QUEEN #2" Takes No Prisoners


STORY: Garth Ennis
PENCILS: Jacen Burrows
INKS: Guillermo Ortego
COLORS: Dan Brown
LETTERS: Rob Steen
COVER: Declan Shalvey
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Tony Harris; Chris Ferguson and Jacen Burrows; Declan Shalvey
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

Chapter 2: “Something Impossible”

The Ribbon Queen is a new eight-issue miniseries from AWA Studios.  The series focuses on an ancient and terrible force that is loose in the modern world.  It is written by Garth Ennis; drawn by Jacen Burrows (pencils) and Guillermo Ortego (inks); colored by Dan Brown; and lettered by Rob Steen.

The Ribbon Queen introduces NYPD Detective Amy Sun and her current problem.  Three years ago, a young woman named Bella Rhineback was rescued from a serial killer by a police tactical unit.  Now she’s dead, and Amy has a bad feeling that the SWAT team leader, Keith Connolly, is responsible.  Now, as she investigates her own department, she discovers something old and awakened.  And it will confront everything she believes.

As The Ribbon Queen #2 (“Something Impossible”) opens, Detective Sun has just seen her “suspect,” Keith Connolly, unraveled into a bloody mess.  That's not the only complication as weirdness is going on, as something that should not just disappear … just up and disappeared.

Supernatural forces are at work, but Sun still believes that there is real-world corruption at her NYPD precinct.  Now, some of Connolly's colleague/thugs want answers and/or payback, and she still can't get answers about the supernatural stuff.

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  The Ribbon Queen #2 is the latest.

I've been dreading reading the PDF of The Ribbon Queen #2 that AWA Studios' marketing department sent me, but not because I thought it would be a bad read.  I've been dreading the contents.  The Ribbon Queen is the kind of imaginative and bone-chilling, blood-curdling horror that Stephen King and Clive Barker used to produce.  I wasn't sure that I was ready, but I was forced to bring my comic book review pimp game up a few levels. But seriously...

Writer Garth Ennis has essentially taken the police procedural and dressed it with some folk horror entrails.  The Ribbon Queen is crime fiction married to dark fantasy and bloody horror in way that mixes realism and surrealism.  So really the reader has to rely on the protagonist, who isn't so sure of a lot of things herself.

Jacen Burrows has been drawing disquieting comic book art for quite a while.  I felt icky reading some of his run on Marvel Comics' Moon Knight.  In The Ribbon Queen, Burrows is wrapping the narrative in insanity with inker Guillermo Ortego aiding and abetting.  Dan Brown's colors emphasize the quiet, determined relentlessness of the edgy supernatural darkness, and I chuckle at how letterer Rob Steen makes this all seem like normal storytelling.

The Ribbon Queen is … like WOW!  Don't deny yourself this most excellent comic book, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Garth Ennis and (ought-to-be) fans of Jacen Burrows will want to read The Ribbon Queen.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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