“Brownfield’s strength resides in his ability to create discernibly unique voices with minimal need for extraneous exposition…Fritz Casas’ work is incredibly clean and the use of a rich color pallet and textures by Kirsty Swan creates a very eye-popping visual experience. “
The Blood Queen #2
The Blood Queen #2, one of Dynamite Entertainment‘s newest endeavors, written by Troy Brownfield with artwork by Fritz Casas, is an excellent exercise in dramatic storytelling and foreshadowing. Brownfield’s strength resides in his ability to create discernibly unique voices with minimal need for extraneous exposition; his natural sounding conversations between characters creates a very easygoing reading experience that allows the story to unfold gracefully. Fritz Casas’ work is also technically solid; I found myself marveling at how well his work was complimented by colorist Kirsty Swan.
Without spoiling anything, The Blood Queen #2 subtly progresses the story of Elizabeth Bathory with several minor character developing scenes packed with well-crafted minimalism. The arrival of Helena, for example, does an excellent job of progressing Elizabeth’s story through their brief exchange. Sir Ferenc’s display of masculine cruelty is brief but his behavior afterward when he is alone with Elizabeth gives him a very unique duality that runs parallel to the darkness lurking beneath the surface of the demure Bathory.
In terms of original or unique concepts, second issues always have the challenge of being the “second foot forward” in response to the first issue; meaning: the challenge remains in sustaining the story the creators have established in short order while still continuing to propel the momentum of the story towards more rising action. Here, in this second offering, Brownfield does a good job of creating a certain degree of mystery and foreboding through the use of formal court pleasantries between Helena and Elizabeth and through the lustful tempestuousness Elizabeth displays for the not-so-nice Sir Ferenc as he disciplines the King’s men in their training.
Fritz Casas’ work is incredibly clean and the use of a rich color pallet and textures by Kirsty Swan creates a very eye-popping visual experience. My only real criticism of Casas’ work revolves around open or negative space in his panel work. There are several panels that could be been more dramatic if he had potentially tilted his perspective or employed a more cinematic eye in the way the panel were drafted. Just the use of a worm’s eye perspective or an extreme close-up during some dialogue can create an ominous sensation that will enrich Brownfield’s excellent ability of elusive speaking and mystery.
Dynamite Entertainment’s has clearly bet on a winner with Brownfield’s Blood Queen series. If you’re looking for some very cool, well-crafted fantasy with a healthy dose of mounting macabre, I urge you to try to grab copies of the first two issues of Dynamite’s The Blood Queen. Fans of historical fiction and fantasy projects like Game of Thrones will be able to appreciate the intriguing story Brownfield and crew have constructed; from the looks of things, Elizabeth Bathory is just starting to get warmed up…evil is afoot and unchecked. Check it out!