Wraithborn Redux #3 Review
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Issue 3 of Wraithborn Redux has recently been released. For those new to the Wraithborn story, it centers on Melanie Moore, a shy, awkward teenager whose face doesn’t quite fit on the front of her skull and whose teeth are still too big. She has a dead mother and a father who’s eating himself into the same state. She’s lousy at sports, doesn’t stand up for the kid who’s picked on, tries to take care of her father, and has one other little problem.

Earth was once ruled by demons. They want to make a comeback, and to do that they need to get rid of the person with the wraithborn power. They do this—but not before he passes the power on to a random person. Melanie, of course.

So it’s basically a coming-of-age-and-becoming-a-badass story. I like those.

The wraithborn power is handed down through an order, the Zanshin. Zanshin is Japanese, meaning awareness of actions committed. The person who was to get that power is Brother Valin. Now he has to keep it out the hands of a she-demon named Brijit and her hench woman, Kiara.

The art here is sumptuous, using gouache to get tonal differences and subtle variations in shading. But this is typical of Benitez’s method and style. The result is quality art that’s a delight to the eye.

The action is fast paced, and, in this issue, it’s thick on the ground. Hounds of Hell— which are not hounds, but they are ugly—are after Melanie, and she doesn’t stand a chance.

This is a dark fantasy, obviously. But it also shows the arc and structure of classic stories. There’s a rich texture of plot here, of the sort that professors and teachers of writing spend their lives analyzing. There are little symbolic touches, like Marinette Cemetery (Marinette is a Vodoun Loa who is violent but freed her people) or Valen (from Emperor Valerian, who fought his entire reign and was killed as a prisoner of the Persians).

It also makes you cheer for the good guys. Melanie is overwhelmed by life and monsters, and you can see what’s arraigned against her. Brijit is abhorrent, but you can see her winning. Kiara is just as unlikable. You can see Melanie’s father trying, but he takes to bad food—finally a guy whose grief turns him to something other than booze.

I think one key aspect of this story is that it does suck you in. I can’t read this without imagining who might play which part in the movie—though I haven't heard that’s being done. The comic just makes me think.

Issue three is out now—so give it a look.

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