The Anchor, continues his battle against the forces of the underworld while the people of Darpa Tacticle Technology attempt to study him. As more demons fall before him, the possibility of a closer enemy seems distant, until the unthinkable happens.
Last week, after reviewing the first collected volume of The Anchor, Five Furies, I looked forward to discovering more secrets behind Clem and his purpose. Over the length of the series, we have seemed to travel backward in Clemâ€™s flashbacks and had little pieces of his history revealed after each battle, but with this issue, we not only find a little more about Clemâ€™s past, but we are given a reason to be fearful for his future.
We join the beginning of Clemâ€™s next story arc as he climbs the side of a volcano in Sumatra which is preparing to erupt. As he prepares for battle, a helicopter carrying the familiar faces of Hoffie Eriksdotter and Colonel Increase Mcbride circle, along with new cast member Dr. Edesa. A skeptic, Edesa tries to find common answers to the uncommon events which surround The Anchor, only to have her world view shifted with each occurrence. As the team looks on, Clem battles a newly â€œbornâ€ fire demon, and defeats him in an interesting fashion. As he takes a bit out of the heart of the beast, we are again shown a glimpse of his unknown past. This one, much as the previous flashbacks, holds no joy for Clem, and he seems to have never known happiness. This time, in flashback, we are taken to a medieval style village where an old man, a warlock, has arrived with a mountain of a man, obviously a young Clem. The old man uses the seemingly unnatural strength of his large friend to best everyman in the village and soon learns that, in any age, bullies never like to be shown up. The results are not happy for him, and we get yet another mysterious end of Clem.
Overall, this issue follows the same formal that the previous issues did: Clem fights monster, Clem defeats monster, Clem gains a little past knowledge, the modern day people marvel at him in fear and awe, and we have an appearance by the demon world. Now, having just written that, it seems like it is a very thin story structure, but it isnâ€™t. Phil Hester slips in little pieces of humanity that make this story retain its unique nature and still manages to throw you for a loop. Hester understand that, with Clem being an amnesiac and supernaturally powerful, he has to show his being through the eyes of others, and that is where his companion Hoffie comes in. But, as we find out in this issue, Hoffie may not be exactly what she appeared in the first arc, and by the last page, you are given reason to pause and wonder how this will all end up.
On the art front, Churilla is still doing excellent work. No, itâ€™s not super detail, itâ€™s not hyper-realistic, in fact, it often has a round cartoon feeling to it, but it works. There is something about itâ€¦ if this same story had been told with a realistic artist or a lot of computer generated work , it would have a completely different feel. But Churilla beings out innocence in The Anchor, while a cherubic demons constantly vie for panel time ad are vile in a cute, bloodcurdling way.
Even with the end of the Five Furies story arc, it seems that the fifth fury has not been found. As General Leung petitions the King of Hell for assistance (or relief from) his mission to defeat the spirit world Anchor, we find that Leung was given the same sort of nature that The Anchor was. Does this mean that, perhaps, a certain ragged individual that has appeared several time around the Anchor is actually Leungâ€™s physical form? I guess you might just have to read it to find out. Trust me, everything is not as it appears, and you get a reiteration of the old saying, â€œNever make a deal with the devil.â€
From this first issue I must say that the new story arc, Black Lips, looks to be poised to be every bit as good as the previous Five Furies arc. With a last page that will have you screaming, â€œNO!â€ in anticipation, I have to say that I can find very little wrong. But, as a reviewer, I am a little concerned about the use of the formula mentioned above, no matter how fresh Hester keeps it. Iâ€™ve going to drop this rating down just a hair for that, but look forward to seeing if the future issues change the recipe a little. I give this issue 3.5 out of 5 Stars.