Advanced Review: Life Signs

Review by David Ferguson

Art by Kevin Keane, Charlie Aabø, Podge Daly and Chris O’Halloran
Written by Colin O’Mahoney, Emmet O’Brien and Shane Ormond
Colours by Chris O’Halloran, Frank M. Cuonzo and Aileen Cudmore
Flatting by Joe Griffin and Billy Browne
Lettering by Colin O’Mahoney, Charlie Aabø and Joe Griffin
Cover by Nate Stockman and Chris O’Halloran

As this is an advanced review, I’ll do a quick enough one and try to remain spoiler free. I’m going to go story by story as Life Signs is an anthology. First, I’d like to speak about the cover. Turncoat Press have once again gone to an artist who has worked for a major publisher for their cover (they used Will Sliney on I’M AWAKE, I’M ALIVE) and I, once again, commend them on this decision. I (relatively) recently discovered the artwork of Nathan Stockman in the Image series REYN and I’m a fan. The cover is a cool montage of the four stories that make up the anthology. It also introduced me to the colouring skills of Chris O’Halloran which is one of things that impressed me about the book. Another cool idea mixing one of your own artists with a name artist.

INHERITANCE – A clever time travel tale written by Colin O’Mahoney. I kind of guessed where it was going but I enjoyed the journey. Always impressed by Kevin Keane’s artwork but Chris O’Halloran’s colours (flats by Joe Griffin) made it pop a bit more for me this time.

TAKING IT’S TOLL – Emmet O’Brien seems always capable of coming up with interesting ideas and this is another one. He uses a sci-fi setting but it’s the story of a poor working slob. Charlie Aabø’s art with Frank M. Cuonzo colours really suit the tone of the story. They depict with equal success an everyman character and the strangeness of outer space.

SPLICE THINGS UP – Another interesting idea by Emmet O’Brien. I took it as take on the beauty industry and marriage too. Podge Daly manages to keep the story grounded in reality while still including the weird future aspects of the story. Aileen Cudmore’s colours really assist with that. I liked the character designs in this one.

TERRAFRACTUM – I was impressed by Shane Ormond’s P45 in the Cork Sci-fi Comic. He has once again built a strange world. Chris O’Halloran has come on a bit from his previous outings and this is certainly his best work with his colours showing through again in this story. He manages to mix the strange alien part of the story with the somewhat samurai aspect of the book.

In summary, the Cork creators continue to shine with each new book showing an improvement in both the abilities of individual creators and the overall quality of the books. It is also nice to see a move towards more colour and it is interesting to see how that impacts work of the penciller/inker.