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215 Ink’s release of Deadhorse #5 by writer Eric Grissom and artist Phil Sloan keeps getting better as the mystery of William Pike’s key comes into focus.

Grissom cleverly uses the title Wake to tie together a few important and seemingly disparate events in the life of William Pike. The story has flashed a couple of emotional moments into the story so far, but this is the first issue where the reader gets a full albeit mysterious glimpse into the tragic life of William Pike to date.Deadhorse

Each issue has been like a camera lens slowly coming into focus by homing in on the bizarre and tragic moments that have conspired to put him in the middle of a conflict. At this point, it’s the key to a mysterious box that he holds owned by Charles Gadsworth that pushes him into the middle of something he doesn’t understand. Well, finally the box is explained.

Apparently, the box has been in the possession of Gadsworth’s family for many years and produces unknown and mysterious things, contributing to his family’s wealth. In some ways, the story’s plot elements are reminiscent of a Lost episode where each answer brings about a new question, but Grissom handles it well by constantly keeping things interesting.

The continual flashbacks from the past show the city of Deadhorse’s history remains as murky as what the box is capable of doing. Also, the fate of William’s father remains a bit unclear due to an empty coffin that could signify either a red herring or another question requiring an answer.

Phil Sloan’s style continues to grow with each issue as well. His sequential storytelling skills move the eye through each part of the story with a focus on key elements that help move the story along in a cohesive manner.

It was hard to decide how his style fit into this story at the beginning, but it’s clear now that his work perfectly fits the tone and feel of Grissom’s story. It’s not overtly cartoonish, which lends a certain quality that keeps the important parts of the story serious when they should be and bizarre when needed.

Now that William Pike has a sense of why the key is so important, the next issue promises to be an exciting conclusion to the Dead Birds arc. Make sure to pay close attention to the end newspaper articles for a few more clues about how Wake ties together the story from William’s perspective.Deadhorse

The creative team of Grissom and Sloan have a promising series here that will hopefully gain more notice amongst readers looking for something off the beaten path and unique.

Grissom’s writing deserves an A for pulling the strings of the plot tighter without limiting where the story can head as it finishes up. Sloan also earns an A for continuing to bring more focus and clarity to this quirky story’s finish. Look for the final issue next month, and do yourself a favor by getting the earlier issues if you haven’t yet.

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