Best Foot Forward features outstanding comics that create an amazing, memorable, and impactful first issue.
Written By: Marcia Chen
Art By: Joe Benitez & Joe Weems
Cover Art By: Joe Benitez
Published: February 17, 2016 by Benitez Productions
Things that go bump in the night, monsters, ghouls, spirits, and ghosts have existed in the world of storytelling for nearly all of history. We, meaning humanity, are obsessed with the idea that a different form of life could exist. Some embrace it, seek it out, invite it to speak to us or, at the very least, ask for a sign of existence. Then there are those who denounce it, spending their efforts debunking the world of psychics, ghost hunters, and spirit guides. In either case, there is something fundamentally engaging about the idea that these creatures could exist. Now add to that a warrior, born into our plane of existence, fighting these forces from beyond. An unsung hero protecting us all. In Joe Benitez’s latest book, Wraithborn Redux, the world of the unknown is opened up, and it turns out, the person protecting us really hates her job.
In Wraithborn we’re following a young girl who’s been given both the sight and power to fight that which bumps in the night. We learn very quickly that although she has become a fierce warrior against darkness, it hasn’t always been that way. For her, this “responsibility” was an assault on a rather normal child.
Often times, in these stories, mankind’s warrior is a selected individual, who’s destiny was bound to such a fate. Whether they run from it or not, life corners them, thus forcing them to embrace what was always meant to be. However, in Wraithborn, we’re given a normal girl who has power forced onto her. Everything she becomes, her ability to see into otherworldly dimensions and fight off these creatures, was never meant for her.
This mantle is forcibly placed upon her, and not only gives the ability to see these monsters, but it also calls to them. As a Wraithborn fighter, creatures from the dark want to feed upon the power our hero now wields. She isn’t just a protector of humanity, this power has turned her into living bait. She cannot ignore what was done to her, the option to return to a normal life has been ripped from her hands. Due to this one act of aggression against her, what she once new is gone forever. Thus, her motivation isn’t found in some sense of honor or responsibility. For our hero in Wraithborn, she hunts because she is now hunted.
As for the art of this book, I was particularly blown away. After the first couple pages I found myself pausing in order to take in the artwork that was in front of me. I don’t want to over hype it for anyone, but this might be one of the best, what I would call “classic looking” books I’ve read in the last year. It’s not painterly, or some odd variation of coloring and pencil style that causes it to stand out. This is just good old fashion comic book art done amazingly well.
What else can I say other than go buy this book? It delivered in every way a first issue should, or could ever hope to do. I’ve already put this series on my pull list, and once again, met Joe Benitez at a comic con and picked up three collector issues of this book. It’s my opinion that if people give this book a try, they’ll quickly be won over by the quality and content being cranked out over at Benitez Productions.