The first & second issues of Vessels by Dave Cook had already set a pretty high level to reach and with the third issue being released earlier this year I was due a revisit of the series to look at the latest revelations.
The journey so far in those opening issues has been crammed full of detail and big ideas and the latest issue continues that trend as Wake continues to get her head around her own significance in the world of Cairnthala. The aftermath of the Eye-God’s wrath is plain for everyone to see but the gang is ready to head off and put an end to the misery that’s rolled out across the land. That of course brings with it a certain degree of risk and Wake, G’Dala & Marillion are met with a flood of resistance from the grim figures who want to make their own mark in the current crisis.
The titular vessels themselves make an appearance too and the mix of sorcery, mystery & destiny is all beginning to fit together as the journey gets underway. The glimpses of other dimensions and modern day items drift into the mix there’s a comfortable air of familiarity about the key plot points that hit and this all leads up to a “to be continued” that leaves us desperate to know more.
Dave’s world had already started to take shape but the character building and the team he’s put together at the centre of this story are beginning to really grow into that world. The random moments of madness and high level of detail combine well in this latest issue and with momentum firmly behind this it feels like the road ahead is filled with the potential Vessels had already given us a glimpse at. Artist Edward Bentley takes over in this third issue and while I’ve read a number of titles he’s worked on before, I wasn’t quite sure how the change in styles was going to fit after such a strong opening two issues. Thankfully, the change seemed to fit in nicely with the events that were happening and even with a re-read of the previous issues before this one it still felt like it all made sense. The work from Dennis Lehmann on colours & Micah Myers on lettering helped maintain that consistency and the world glows & flows with the same exuberance I was hoping for.
Dave also added the first Vessels prequel into the mix that gives a bit more of a background on a key character from the core team.
Here we see Marillion infiltrate a royal ball and try to hide in the guise of someone that belongs among the rich but as the drink begins to flow she lets her real self slip to the surface. That takes her plans from certainty to calamity and as the prize she has her eye on comes into view it’s the beginning of the end as her best laid plans all seem to unravel. She ends up needing to make a break for it in order to make sure she can move on to the next heist she has in mind and we see a glimmer of the person we’ve already met in that main title.
This is a cracking piece of background story-telling from Dave and it’s really helping to show off the scale of the world he has inside his head for this title as he’s joined by Gary Kelly on art & Lesley Atlansky on colours and while it’s got a very different look to the main story, it definitely feels like it belongs in the same world. The detail is there and actually adds to the regal surroundings Marillion is trying to slip in & out of which helps make the events that unfold hit with a real sense of flair.
It’s exciting enough to see a strong title like Vessels reach the next stage of the story and level-up in many ways but the addition of a further prequel story then takes this to higher heights than it’s probably hit before. The change of artist was an easy transition in the end and with the colouring & lettering team keeping the consistency intact, the whole thing screams out into the swirling void that more of this is needed…..and soon.