ARTFUL DAGGERS #14
Written by Adam P. Knave & Sean E. Williams
Art by Andrew Losq
Published by Monkeybrain Comics
Release date: September 10, 2014
With the final price Arden had to pay to save her and Piper revealed, this latest issue continues the interpersonal turmoil of the wreckage of the Tricksters. Working for a band of rogues and thieves, known as the Tricksters, their headquarters, called The Warren was destroyed. Now, we find out why. However, with this answer there are a host of questions and new mysteries that show up: Why didn’t Arden work to save The Warren if she knew what could happen? Why didn’t she tell Colin or any of the others the price she had to pay to save Piper? Was it just custom and habit that doomed her and her friends or is something even more sinister at play?
So far, this very evenly paced series seems to take a break from the action, this time around, in order to give characters a chance to get issues off their chests. The argument heavy issue is broken up by dramatic layouts from Losq that make you feel there is something on the brink of happening at every page turn. This high drama, intense interaction also drives home a new mystery that is revealed with depressed Colin, who is dealing with the loss of The Warren. With the Tricksters homeless and in disarray, someone else, besides Colin is calling the shots. Also, Arden turns to a new power group that has yet to be truly explored. None of these ideas are explored in full and we have but a little taste, that sets up what is next for future issues.
This is an issue where it is highly recommended you go back for a reread of what came before. With very little time passing between each issues, the story telling is very tight and does not revisit or retell what has come before as you would find in a traditional comic. Instead, things are laid out more like a novel, asking the reader to keep up. Arden revealing the reason for her transgression might create confusion if you have not reread the series much or have read previous issues. This lack of revisiting details of the past could put some readers off, however those who love mystery and intrigue will enjoy how much focus is put on what is next instead of constantly revisiting the past.
Once again there is a dramatic and heavily inked take in the story. Losq seems to have more detail in bodies and layouts now than opposed to the beginning of the series. However, there are a few pages where the sharply cornered shapes overly blend together and can make it difficult to tell at first glance what is happening on the page. There a beautiful and dramatic single page layout when Arden and her former protege, Piper, are at a turning point. What could be a dull talking-head interaction is made intense and has a feeling of high stakes by layout alone. With the each rogue taking an opposite side of the page and a central focal point revealing their stance to one another, the whole page sings and shines above all others in the whole issue.
This series is one of the few where the reality of morality is true to life, with everyone committing sins and saves through each story. For those who enjoy this aspect mixed with medieval setting forced into a weapons heavy reality will continue to enjoy the drama presented here.
The Verdict: 8.0/10