I cannot lay claim to the title of this post. That credit goes to a young man, Mr Joe Molloy, acquainted with the writer’s wife, Erika Cline, the writer in question being Patrick Cline.
I couldn’t help but write a little review of Toots Malloy – Blues Ninja, especially as a) it contains animal protagonists and b) it was lovingly carved into feathery sheets of wood by the Apes ‘n’ Capes artist, Matt Rooke.
Like the sword he wields, Toots is sharp. Mr Cline writes a good game about a mean, sax-wielding marmoset whose cool demeanour on stage belies his assassin alter ego, the Ninja within rousing only when tasked to take down an adversary that threatens his Way of Life.
The pace of the panels is great. Words are not overused and blend really well with the flow of the story, enhancing rather than distracting from the art. The lettering is tight and self-contained, reflective of the narrative (nice work, Jon). It is a sign of a good writer that allows the art to breathe and shine the way Mr Cline does. The decision to keep colour confined to areas of blood spatter, really makes those pages pop, with the added nuance of the femme fatale in the red dress, because, well, women eh? Deadly they can be too.
The world of Toots Malloy is very black and white. He knows where things are at all times and how they fit together. His band members are pitched perfect and Matt captures the blues in their hairy souls with expressive features. Our hairy Ninja hints that improv is not his strong suit, but I’m thinking episode 2 of the arc will demonstrate he is more than capable of going with the ebb and flow of a tricky situation.
You almost should read the comic with some JJ Cale or Rory Gallagher lulling in the background for that extra sensory-enhancing hit.
All in all, I loved the story and the potential contained within. Mr Cline shows some real blossoming flare in the writing stakes and of course, Matt Rooke’s art gets tighter with every pen stroke. Plus you get a little bonus original story at the end.
You should head over to Dead Universe Comics in Aylesbury to grab a copy or look for the Apes ‘n’ Capes table at a future comic convention and we’ll set you right.
You won’t forget the night you read the blues…