Tails of Mystery: The Amulet of Thar’ishdom – Part 3 by Asa Wheatley (Writing) & Kat Willott (Artwork)

N. B. This review will probably make sense if you have read my reviews for parts 1 and 2.

The third segment of this four-part series commences with more details provided about the criminal group in the story, which is called the Flock. Steph and Holland start off in a tight spot. Wyatt’s narration, (demarcated by text within yellow boxes), takes on a Raymond Chandler tone when he sums up their situation:“The stench of trouble wafted off these two in spades.” Since this is a four-part series, issue 3 moves the story along a significant chunk, but does not see the bad guys vanquished and Wyatt is still very much a cat. That said I think the narrative point issue 3 chooses to cut off at, is rather abrupt, odd, and just dissatisfying. You couldn’t really describe it as a cliff-hanger. Perhaps the creators were going for a calm before the storm vibe?

As I have mentioned in my other reviews, when reading these instalments of Tails of Mystery, I have been considering the difference in reading experience when reading a comic book or a novel. The latter is definitely the reading format I am better versed in. In part 3 there is a significant fight scene between the baddies and Wyatt and his team. It takes place across about 3 sides of A4, with around 17 individual panels. The artwork, as in the rest of the series, is very minimal and I wondered whether this contributed to the noticeable lack of tension. I don’t think it is wildly unusual to expect tension and drama in a fight scene, be it on page or screen, yet this fight scene left this reader, at least, feeling unmoved, in contrast to written fight scenes that I have read previously.

Earlier in this review, I remarked upon issue 3 moving the plot along and in terms of information this instalment has the greatest amount. However, I found these details were dumped upon us. This perhaps rubbed me up the wrong way as I prefer mystery novels which avoid this strategy and instead allow information to be drip fed and inferred. But is info dumping a common feature of comic books? I haven’t read enough to say either way. Another trope I wondered about was the fact that danger is rapidly dispelled in this story. Again, is this normal for comic books? Not knowing what to expect from a comic book mystery, has made this a more challenging reading experience.

Given that this instalment contains the structural and artistic issues of the previous two parts, I am not overly keen to race off and buy the final part of the story. I am just not invested in the characters, or the reading experience this series gives, to find out. I very much enjoyed Jean Harambat’s The Detection Club (2020), so I think if I was to try another comic book mystery, I would want to go for one similar in style to that.  

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