A strong concept, but a ho-hum execution can be found in Image’s newest fantasy comic about a magic cat and a beleaguered sorceress.
Image Comics’ newest release dips a delicate toe into the waters of magic and fantasy. The new comic, Inkblot, delivers whimsy and an adorably illustrated cat as it hints at wild possibilities to come.
Created by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd, the story begins, like fantasy often does, with world-building and backstory. A set of siblings walk across a fantasy world, slaying magical creatures and accruing knowledge, power, and magic, until there are no creatures left. The oldest of the siblings chooses to break open the “void”, allowing the siblings to scatter through multiple dimensions with the goal of conquering these new realms. The story follows a sorceress librarian, whom the text doesn’t identify by name. She has dedicated her life to the study of magic and to her work as a historian of her siblings’ deeds. Inside the lush, Living Castle, tucked away in the library, the sorceress grows both dissatisfied and overwhelmed with her work until literally falling asleep at her desk.
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It is with the nodding off of the main character that Inkblot #1 truly begins. With a mix of unspecified magic and a smashed ink bottle, the story takes off in a burst of swirling, blue light. In the center of that light appears a single black cat. As any cat owner can attest, the feline immediately flits off and begins to break things – in this case, the thing it breaks is the void. What follows is a chaotic trip into one of the afore-mentioned realms, with the sorceress and the cat dodging danger in the form of hungry, fist-fighting giants.
Inkblot is a charming story that starts slow with a history of the land and the siblings. Gladd’s writing is a bit unpolished; the backstory of the world and the siblings feels simultaneously dense and too sparse, meaning readers may be inclined to skim through the first few pages to get to the meat of the story. The sorceress’s reactions to the reality-warping cat are amusing, however, and once the cat arrives the story kick-starts into action. The promise of kitty chaos will likely be a strong enough hook to keep readers interested enough to forgive the clunky beginning.
The art itself is pleasing, which comes as no surprise given the comic-drawing dynasty Kubert hails from. The panels are filled with pleasant coloring and some entertaining faces from the sorceress as she frantically chases after the cat. The cat is a simple but stand-out design with its black, blobby form and gigantic, round eyes. Overall, though, there’s something lackluster in the art that can’t quite be defined, and, like the story, has panels that seemed too busy or too boring, with the cat leading the story towards the finish line.
Inkblot has a lot going for it – the high-concept, fantasy elements are unique, while the backstory packed in at the start of the first issue holds a lot of promise for adventure. The first issue may have its peaks and valleys, but it’s still an enjoyable little romp. However, as an Image Comics title, Inkblot certainly seems tame and, largely, unimpressive. Where Kubert and Gladd will take the story next, and how they choose to expand their world remains to be seen and will certainly be what makes the little comic about the most chaotic cat stand-out or remain pleasant but forgettable.
Inkblot #1 is created by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd. It’s in stores now!
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Source: Image Comics.
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