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Blackburne Covenant #4

Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2003
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Fabien Nicieza
Artists: Stefano Raffaele, Elena Sanjust(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse

Fabien Nicieza finishes off his Blackburne Covenant with a surprisingly spry look at the returning Campbell hero. We suspected that Richard Kaine was the reincarnation of his character Talinda, but Mr. Nicieza anticipates his reader's intelligence and finds an unexpected means to explain the connection. Bonus points for having the explanation make sense.

Kaine's impending arrival foreshadows a sinister agenda, but here again, Mr. Nicieza upends the reader's expectations and uses the real world of publishing to create a plausible means for eliminating the Blackburne Covenant once and for all.

Before Kaine embarks on his revenge, a classy flashback sequence pulls away all the remaining veils and creatively summarizes the growth that led to Kaine's maturity. Mr. Nicieza is also wise enough to manipulate the pacing through some clever, humorous dialogue from two winning cast members we never thought to see again. Kaine's nude comeuppance for these two is genuinely funny.

The art by Stefano Raffaele done in a style that's immediately recognizable as European beautifully creates an ominous mood when it appears Kaine will be reaping his bloody vengeance. The characters all have a realistic look to them complete with wrinkles and creases, which makes the fantasy elements such as the apparition of the Talinda/Kaine creation stand out. His appreciation for the female form can be seen in the proportion he bestows to every female character. Though given the shape and clothing of the stewardess seen in Blackburne Covenant I'll have to remember which airline Kaine uses.



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