A political takeover by Lord Ubel leads to the kidnapping of Violet Bell. Can Boone be pulled out of his funk long enough to figure out what’s going on? Find out in Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell #1!
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: David Rubin
Letterer: David Rubin
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 25, 2019
Previously in Ether: Boone Dias was called into action as portals between Ether and the Earth started opening, unleashing magic against the Earth. Each portal was guarded by an enormous copper golem. Boone put together a team of specialists, and together they were able to close the portals after which Boone was banished back to Earth, where, because time flows differently, most of his family was dead.
THE WEIRD WORLD OF ETHER
Boone Dias’s last gift from his daughter on Earth was food he could create and subsist on in the Ether. As Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell #1 opens, Boone is in the Ether in a cave that looks like’s he tried to make it a home. This cave is at the top of a rocky pinnacle in the clouds, one of several near a group of seven gigantic statues. As he’s hanging out, shaving his head, someone comes climbing up to his cave.
Boone has exiled himself here near what we learn are the monuments to the Seven Lucky Gods, who all had pretty awful fates, which Boone can’t help but comment on. But the point is that they all survived and persevered. But this mythology is not why this fellow came climbing up. He brings news of Lord Ubel who has taken control and is dismantling every magical institution in the Ether and claiming absolute power. He’s rewriting knowledge, turning people against one another, making the truth meaningless. But more than that, this visitor is Violet Bell’s father. Violet Bell has been kidnapped, and he believes that Ubel is responsible.
Boone Dias is a complicated hero. He is a great investigator, if wildly reckless, but when it comes right down to it, he’s not very likeable. He’s selfish, using people around him without much thought to their lives. Is he maybe starting to realize this? And even if he does, will this change him significantly? But part of the reason he’s been drawn into the Ether is his attraction for Violet Bell, so her disappearance is enough to prod him into action. I like Violet Bell, and I like that she’s irascible and brutally frank; I hope she’s not being turned into a damsel for Boone’s sake.
Violet Bell’s father takes Boone to the new Faerie Kingdom. They haven’t disturbed the scene of the crime where the bodies of many, many guards lay strewn about. Boone investigates and concludes that…the killer is still in the room!
STYLISH AND IMAGINATIVE
The art of Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell #1 is distinctive, loose, and kind of trippy. The Ether is a pretty crazy world, and the art brings this home consistently. But you also need to pay attention to the detail in it. There are lots of crazy small things that are weird or funny or peculiar. You never know what’s going to come back around, and what’s just kind of a one-off thing. Boone’s cave, the stores of the Seven Lucky Gods, what Ubel has been up to, and of course the scene of the crime all are full of interesting things to see.
I love the coloring in this book so much. It is rich with saturated colors and full of moody scenes with brilliant contrasts. Some of the choices may feel unusual to a reader who has not seen this title before, but you get used to it and a lot of emotion is communicated through use of the vivid palettes.
BOTTOM LINE: A JUMPING ON POINT IF EVER THERE WAS ONE
If Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell #1 is your first foray into this world, rest assured that it is always a bit wild, showing us new things that we accept and then wonder about. The story tells you enough that you can follow what’s going on, and I’m sure we’re seeing some details that will come back around later. That said, while I love the book, I’m still not sold on Boone as a hero. He’s flawed and has plenty of room for redemption, but maybe his flaws are what make him effective as an investigator. Without Violet Bell around, we’re lacking any significant female characters, and I do feel that rather keenly. On the other hand, some of the underlying commentary is pretty sharp, which I do appreciate.
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Isolated in the Ether, Boone Dias is drawn back into action by Violet Bell.