Publisher – Image Comics
Writer/Artist – Steve Skroce
Colorist – Dave Stewart
Letterer – Fonografiks
An American millennial with magical abilities becomes ruler of the cosmos, after most of his family is horribly murdered. Things get wilder from there.
The first thing that is clear from a shallow look at the art is that Steve Skroce put in a ton of detail within the pages. His art demands the attention of the reader. Crowded scenes feel lively, even when things get chaotic and gruesome. Those wondering if that means the layouts or the body language suffer at all should not worry. Layouts are clear without ever feeling stale. Characters stay consistent, while acting in appropriate ways within the context of the script.
Dave Stewart does a terrific job of keeping up with the Skroce's art. Various locales rely on certain colors over others such as the yellows for Zainon, and the reds for the Underworld. Another thing that rocks about the colors is the subtlety of it. There is a visible difference in how things like fire and blood look in terms of context. Little details in shade show the age of a flame or the way blood is behaving in regards to surface and location.
Skroce's script does a nice job of fleshing out the cast and settings. The history of the characters and the world they occupy is delivered in a manner that satisfies, while leaving enough out to use for future payoffs. Speaking of payoffs, the narrative has moments that manage to shock without feeling cheap. Twists and outcomes feel rooted in the identities of the characters. The script's sense of humor gives the action its own feel, though there are some moments when it falters. Where things mainly go wrong is with some of the dialogue. There are times when it simply overstays its welcome on the page.
Fonographiks provides an extra layer of personality through the lettering. The sound effects do a fine job of conveying the energy of the action. Certain characters are tied to specific sound effects through color in appropriate moments. What is most impressive about the lettering is the way it emphasizes dialogue. Screams, moans, and the like are given weight in ways that is not normally seen in comics.
Maestros Vol. 1 is an entertaining read with its own style. This is worth a look, especially for those who like their fantasy tales to skew dark and crude. Even when the script is lacking at times, the art is too good to be denied.