I read The Phoenix Requiem by Sarah Fullerton from late 2007 to 2011. Unlike her earlier story, Inverloch (which I reviewed last month), this is set in a Victorian-era alternate universe. The difference between this world and ours is the existence of supernatural beings: ghosts, shades, spirits, and hellions.
Fullerton’s artistic talents evolved quite a bit over Inverloch, making
The Phoenix Requiem even more of a pleasure to read. The primary difference is in the “directing” of the comic: different angles, close-ups and distance shots, etc. Fullerton moves towards a more realistic way of portraying people, whereas her style leans towards anime in Inverloch. Her use of color, too, becomes darker and deeper to reflect the serious tone of The Phoenix Requiem.
As for story development, Fullerton’s tale unfolds as only one that has been well-planned before the first page was drawn. Although you know which characters are going to be romantically involved with each other in the first chapter, but you honestly don’t care because the main storyline is so engrossing. It’s a magical mystery – one that, beyond being intriguing on its own, explores the characters’ relationship to life and death, how those attitudes affect their actions, and how those attitudes affect their relationships. It’s very much a character-driven story, even though the characters must react to the overall plot premise.
You can see the echoes of the Inverloch cast in Anya, Jonas, Robyn, and Petria, but they are of course quite different, too. Their character designs are pretty damn good – Fullerton has that wonderful way of designing her characters’ appearances to reflect their personalities. (Something which I strive to do myself… it’s pretty much all I do, for real.)
And, as she did in Inverloch, Fullerton surprises the hell out of you for her big reveal. I highly, highly recommend her work and can’t wait for her next project!