Written by: Joe Kelly Art by: Max Fiumara Letters by: Thomas Mauer Published by: Image Comics
Depression era USA has often been visited in various forms of stories – be it drama, romance, action – however, in issue one of this new title Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara deliver something a little bit different… Dragons! From the big city sprawl to bloated suits taking a one way dive from the top floor of an office building, the backdrop is suitably fitting for the era. The scene is set fairly quickly in terms of the book, the early pages being replete with drama, suits, thinly veiled racism – once the mood is established the book dives straight into the titular character of the book: Four Eyes.
Four Eyes is a dragon, one not surprisingly endowed with four eyeballs. The dragon is a pup, only a few months old. The drama in the story revolves around Enrico – a child with a desire to train the dragon. Along with the boy we have a taciturn tutor/guardian character, a Mr Fawkes. The story takes the boy from the farm where the dragon is being reared to the seedy underbelly of dragon fighting – the boy needs to learn and Mr Fawkes (for reasons not immediately shown) is willing to accommodate him. The book works quite well in terms of establishing the story and building the characters – who come across to varying degrees. The story has a simple enough chronology, with only a few asides that pull the reader away from the narrative. While the concept of training dragons isn’t a new concept, Four Eyes does have a more grounded/gritty reality than other such source material. On art we have Max Fiumara. The pages are well illustrated, the style is very effective in terms of the dragons. The use of lighting and colour is employed well to imbue the reader with a definite sense of the setting. Max does well with the panels lay outs and a number of panels contain some very effective emotion. While there is not much visual drama to drive the story, there are a number of dark elements to convey a sense of menace – which will potentially be exploited in coming issues. There is already a sense of conflict brewing, along with various hints around the characters. While this book doesn’t explode from the start there are some good elements to the story.