How much trouble can one small cat get into, or does it know something that we don’t? Find out in Inkblot #2, from Image Comics!
Writer:Rusty Gladd and Emma Kubert
Artist: Rusty Gladd and Emma Kubert
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 7, 2020
Previously in Inkblot: We find ourselves in a grand fantasy setting where the family of Xenthas Voidbreaker has lived for centuries, traveling the void, opening realms, and hunting magical creatures. There, we follow the Seeker, the sister of the family who chronicles the exploits of her heroic siblings on the day she accidentally summons…a small black cat. After messing up her paperwork, the cat wanders through a portal, dragging the Seeker to another world where she is nearly killed by giants before finding her way back home.
IS IT A CAT STORY, OR IS IT A SHAGGY DOG STORY?
The Seeker is back in her library, and she hasn’t seen the cat again. She merely mentions that it is probably in the Cobblewood. The Cobblewood is the home of Elves, and we see a mother and daughter Alea walking through a fair. The little girl talks of sorcerers, and her mother cautions her about how dangerous they are, and how they have to be like mice to survive. The woman is Queen Allissandra, and the sorcerers come for her and take her away.
As the chronicler, the Seeker fills us in a little more. The Elves are matriarchal, and the Queens share their memories with their daughters, maintaining a long chain of history. This is when the cat comes in, jumping on a young Elf girl and waking her up. She is apparently a princess, one girl among several brothers. Their mother comes in, dressed as a warrior, urging them to get ready to come with them to the Haunted Cave. Princess Arabella is slowed down by the cat, and when she dashes to catch up, we learn that her mother, the Queen, is the little girl we saw at the fair. Arabella is Allissandra’s granddaughter, and Allissandra is apparently still alive.
The business at the Haunted Cave turns out to be a dragon. Alea has brought her daughter here to fight, but Arabella finds herself knocked down by the dragon. Then the cat shows up in the thick of things, and her focus changes to trying to keep the cat safe, as well as her mother. Then, before we know it, the cat is seen calmly walking up the dragon’s tail, along its wings, all the way up to its head. The queen sees this as a distraction for her attack, but we see there is more to the story. The cat has seen a mouse in the dragon’s nostril, and it chases it out and captures it. And the dragon flies off.
So what is the moral of the story? We – and Arabella – apparently see one thing. Her mother sees the cat as something else entirely. She feels that the cat has not only saved them all, but it is telling them that their time of being like mice is over. No longer are the Elves going to hide and be peaceful; they are going to forge ahead into glory. It’s a perfect metaphor for showing how a ruler can twist reality to claim it supports their own personal beliefs. It’s a fascinating chapter, and it intrigues me to see whether this book is a single, connected story or a series of vignettes where the cat is the link.
ONE FIGHT, TWO PERCEPTIONS
The art of Inkblot #2 is certainly dramatic. While the first couple pages seem quiet enough, when the sorcerers arrive, there is no doubt they are serious trouble. A small glowing red circle opens up to reveal several dour men in red robes. Their leader is horribly scarred and blind in one eye. As quickly as they arrived, they vanish, leaving the little princess Alea standing alone. The sole transition from the opening to the present time is a swath of red – the last trace of the sorcerers in one scene, and the wispy glow of sunrise in the next.
The cat, presumably Inkblot, although no one has been with it long enough to name it, comes into the Cobblewood on the back of a large bird. The cat is a counterpoint to the serious plotlines, and it is fascinating to see. It purrs like crazy when Arabella pays attention to it, gets in her way, and then is simply gone until it shows up at the dragon fight. It is a tiny island of calm in a chaotic battle, and it is the only one who sees what is really going on – that the dragon has a pest stuck in its nose. And with utter confidence and single-mindedness, it goes after that pest, and some of those panels are delightfully catlike.
BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD READ
Inkblot #2 is not your typical fantasy quest story. So far, the little cat draws us in to situations that make a point and that seem to matter, but we don’t know for sure yet if there is more of a connection than that. The humor balances out the drama in a way that is charming and at times unexpected.
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In another corner of the world, the Elves decide to turn from peaceful compromise to war!