I think this is the final Image issue of this anthology series before it spins out as part of Desperado’s self-published line. If so, Negative Burn leaves Image with a pretty typical issue: there are some clever stories, some fairly rotten stories, and a few mediocre stories.
The highlight of this issue for me was the final chapter of “Aces” by G. Willow Wilson, Shannon Eric Denton and Curtis Square-Briggs. I’ve had a bit of trouble getting into previous chapters of this story, but I thought Wilson and Denton’s story this issue was terrific pulp action. Two British World War I flying aces find themselves in a secret cave where the Germans are undertaking a great, bold and clever experiment, very reminiscent of something one might read in a Doc Savage story or something. It’s not a brilliant story, but it’s a bright and charming yarn, weakened only by a very implausible epilogue. The art by Square-Briggs really fit this chapter well, giving everything a shadowy, intense feel, as if something evil were just around the corner.
On the other hand, I thought Ian Singerman and Harsho Mohan Chattorai’s “The Twelve” was ugly and obvious, like a mediocre Vertigo comics story. The story of Kronos, an immortal being who was the focus of evil in the world, felt both uninteresting and not completely thought through to me. Chattorai’s artwork added yet another level of ugliness to the story. After a few pages reading, I just wanted it to end.
Gary Reed contributes a prose story, “To Feed the Monster,” with accompanying artwork by Mark Bloodworth. It’s another dark story, but it does help the reader feel some empathy for the story’s horrible protagonist. No matter how horrible the character’s actions, Reed somehow helps the reader feel some empathy for him.
My favorite story this issue was Bradley and Cara Walton and Brendan and Brian Fraim’s story of “The Mennonite at the 7-11.” The team delivers a clear, funny and interesting little vignette that I found charming. But I’ve always kind of been a sucker for the autobiographical stories in this series.
Other prominent creators this issue include R.G. Taylor, with a clever little piece about drinking, and a cute story about a little kid by Doug Wagner and Rob Haynes.