Card Shark Comics double review – Bust #3 & Vessels #2

Card Shark Comics’ head honcho Dave Cook recently hit us with not one but two releases following successful Kickstarter campaigns for them both and with already impressive starts to both expectations were high.

Bust #3

Issues #1 & 2 set the tone and pace for the Bust series with it becoming a pretty slick mix of The Walking Dead & Mad Max and this third sets to build on that as Dave begins to really explore the characters motivations in the world he’s created.  We open with the back story of Dawn and the merest hint that she’s going to play a far more significant role in the series than we might expect and as Jack & friends try to formulate a plan to keep her safe the Smiler Gang prove themselves to be a big threat to anything they might want to achieve.

Jack himself has his own issues to overcome too as he’s coming apart at the seams before our eyes but he is shaken from descending into complete insanity through being chased and being lumbered with a higher purpose of keeping Dawn safe & well.  Cue tangible risks to the small group from the Smilers and the world is really starting to close in on them……a notion that’s made even more apparent as this issue closes out.

Dave has really stepped up his game in this third issue to give it something different for readers to cling to but with so much story beginning to flow the latter half of the book teeters on the edge of being word-heavy with a lot of dialogue & narrative.  The saving grace for this is the outsize print which helps open up the world and the work from Chris O’Toole on lettering & art is impressive again as it’s given just the right balance to keep the pace steady from start to finish.  It’s another amazing cover from Craig Paton too who manages to capture the issues vibe in an image that slaps you in the face and demands you read on.

Insanity, action, heartache and everything in between is conveyed across the pages by Dave & Chris which means we reach the midway point of it’s five issue run with an established sense of achievement.  The risk is real to the characters and it’s pretty much anyone’s guess on who will be left by the time those final two issues roll around…but holy shit I want to be their for the whole ride!

8/10


Vessels #2

The first issue of Dave’s Vessels came as a bit of a revelation and easily made my list of highlights for 2016 so there was a great deal of excitement around this one when the second issue smashed through Kickstarter and made its way through my door.

The first issue kicked off Wake’s quest to slay the demonic Eye-God and save the world of Cairnthala from total destruction and while that seemed like a challenge she could rise to fairly easily the plot thickens in this second issue with worlds collapsing around her and reality becoming skewed.  The quest is hard but then who says anything worth fighting for was going to be straight-forward and Dave works on that idea in this issue as he stalls our preconceptions in their tracks as he drip-feeds us details that just add extra layers to his creation.

Couple those ideas with Rafael Dequitado Jr.’s art and Vessels continues to generate the awe it has from the beginning.  Dennis Lehmann’s colours & Micah Myers letters then go on to sweeten the deal by making the pages glow and Dave’s story flow like the multi-dimensional fantasy gem it is.  Kudos to Gary Kelly for that cover

This second issues takes a bit more of a jump in quality even though it was already set pretty high in that opening issue and it’s yet another reminder that indie/small press books can match any of the big publishers with the right story and creative team behind it.  The added bonus for me as a comic reader is that I now have another genre to add to the list that indie comics have opened my eyes to………so I now need more fantasy comics in my reading and I definitely need more Vessels too….all thanks to Dave, Rafael, Dennis, Micah & Gary.

9/10


You can get hold of both titles and the previous issues over on Comichaus and you can get Vessels over on Comixology too.

You can check out more on all the Card Shark Comics titles over on the website & Facebook page.  Head over to the Bust & Vessels Facebook pages to keep up to date with what’s next too.

G-Man

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