Rapture: Starts off strong but then stumbles

Rapture Kindle & comiXology by Matt Kindt (Author), Cafu (Illustrator), Roberto De la Torre (Illustrator)Rapture written by Matt Kindt & drawn by CafuRapture by Matt KindtCafu, Roberto De la Torre

Rapture
is a Valiant omnibus collection of issues 1-4 to collect the entire story arc written by Matt Kindt and drawn by Cafu. I loved the artwork for the most part, and the story began well enough, but events quickly began to feel too rushed and too slightly developed, making for an overall disappointing read, though it’s possible those more familiar with this world and these characters might have a more positive response.

The story opens with a young girl, Tama, working her way in the Deadworld through a series of traps and riddle tests and the like to converse with a demon named Amy (yes, Amy) in order to find out more about an impending end-of-the-world scenario. She learns that a Big Bad named Babel is trying to reuse his tower (yes, that one) to pierce the Liveworld, which would destroy Earth. She gathers a kickass team, made up of Ninjak, Shadowman, and Punk Mambo, each of whom have their own special skills/powers. It turns out the tower is now home to a tough barbarian ruler (a friend of Tama’s), whose army was pretty wiped out by Babel, especially by Babel’s trio of special minions — the Bereavers — who can kill with a word. The team makes its way to the tower and attempts to stop Babel’s plan, though they have to overcome a betrayal in order to do so.

To start with the positive, I absolutely loved the artwork throughout. At times panels were a bit small/crowded, but outside of that minor and infrequent complaint, the artwork was consistently wonderfully vivid, active, colorful, and clear. It’s some of the best work I’ve seen in the (admittedly few) graphics I’ve read the past few months.

The other positive is the opening story involving Tama, who has an engaging, welcoming voice, a nice touch of humor, and a habit of turning the story in unexpected ways. Her story takes its time, we get to see her personality via her narration and her interaction with several other characters. It’s a strong start.

Unfortunately, things go downhill once her original mission — find out just how the apocalypse is coming — is over and she starts collecting the team. The addition of new characters in such a short creative space means there is little development of characters or storylines moving forward. It doesn’t help that big chunks of exposition start flying, often as interruptive flashbacks. The Bereavers never get a chance to live up to their name, the heroes subdue bad guys too quickly, inner conflict happens fast and then is delved a bit more into via an anti-climactic flashback. The ideas here are interesting, but they are just given no space to develop, to engage, to provide richness of plot or character.

If the rest of the story had moved at the same pace as the first part of issue one, I really believe Rapture could have been an excellent story, especially supported as it is by such strong artwork. But as is, it felt rushed, slight, and frustratingly short of its early promise.

Published October 11, 2017. On a scarred landscape, two otherworldly armies prepare to battle one last time, vying for control of a massive tower named from an ancient language no longer permitted to be spoken. One army is led by a primeval force named Babel, whose goal is singular: to breach “Heaven” no matter the cost. The only thing standing in his way is a gray-haired barbaric warrior, filled with rage and regret, a man who sees this battle as his last chance for redemption. But he knows his depleted forces have little chance of victory unless aid comes. Enter Tama: A 12-year old girl on the crest of a hill overlooking the battle, who has just become humanity’s only hope. The last in an ancient line of mystics who protect the Earth, she has foreseen this battle and knows millions will perish if she’s unable to stop it. Now Tama and her ragtag team of malcontents – Ninjak, Shadowman and Punk Mambo – must somehow defeat an elder god hell bent on piercing the heavens. New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR) and artistic sensation CAFU (RAI) lead a Tolkien-esque journey into the space between life and death… through the Deadside… and into the many worlds that lie beyond right here with a spellbinding and horrific standalone volume! Collecting RAPTURE #1–4.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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One comment

  1. I’m still stuck back here with “Demon Amy.” It just doesn’t sound frightening, no matter how menacingly I try to say it.

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