To say Winter City is ambitious for an indie comic would be quite the understatement. Not only has series creator Patrick Purcell planned out an epic 12 issue story arc, he has assembled an uncharacteristically large team for a self-published production. The four person creative team of artist Pablo Verdugo Munoz, colourist David Aravena Riquelme and writers Patrick and Carl Purcell, really hit the nail on the head (for the 5th consecutive time I might add)iIn Winter City #5. Once again Patrick proves that, like their Grim Reaper, the Winter City creative team is not to be trifled with!
The architect and mastermind behind of all this madness, Patrick Purcell, once again delivers a production value unheard of in smaller comics. I know it’s a weird thing to point out but the lettering in this comic is particularly impressive and is easily of a Marvel or DC standard. On closer inspection it becomes clear fonts have been carefully selected to suit both tone and characters with a sparing use of bold fonts for emphasis. It’s a small touch but it really is the icing on the cake.
This fifth installment of the series picks up more or less where Winter City #4 ended. The comic opens with a flashback of a young Sam Winters returning home after a run in with school bullies. After some not so encouraging words from his uncle Norman, more or less to the effect of ‘toughen up’, Sam begins to hear voices coming from a skeleton mask lying in his uncle’s workshop. And just like that we get to witness the birth of Sam’s alternate personality, the Grim Reaper.
Although flashbacks to Sam’s childhood have always been a big part of the Winter City series, this flashback really makes for a highlight and you can practically see the pieces of the puzzle slowly coming together. Back in the present the Reaper continues his killing spree by stabbing Vernon Paul several times in quite the epic fashion; it seems the police are finally getting a grasp of what’s going on. Likewise, I felt like I was finally getting a small glimpse into the grand 12-issue plot Patrick Purcell has in store for us readers.
It would be a real sin of me not to take at least a few sentences to mention the art. In a word it’s stunning. Pablo Verdugo Munoz brings his dynamic drawing style to bear with some innovative panel layouts and moody cityscapes. Five issues into Winter City and it’s very apparent Verdugo Munoz can consistently deliver. It really is surprising that the big publishers aren’t lining up to hire this guy.
In a series characterized by sophisticated writing, plotting and drama, Winter City #5 asserts it’s self as the most mature and well thought out installment yet. Winter City #5 is more than just a culmination of the first four issues, it’s a truly fulfilling reward to those who have been diligently following the series.