A ruthless killer is hired to kill an old Samurai – and their confrontation leads to the memories of a tragic incident, on a night long ago, bubbling up to the surface.

Though that short synopsis may suggest a straightforward tale of action, horror, love and loss, the truly spectacular and surrealist art in Night of the Comet creates layers of density and meaning that truly elevate this original graphic novel to another level.

Jonathan Thompson delivers an initially sparse script from the point of view of its dialogue, but as the confrontation between the two main characters intensifies and the flashback occurs, it becomes as dense as the stunning art.

Which is really interesting; Attila Schwanz’s scratchy, nightmarish imagery settles down and comes into sharp focus as the backstory comes to the fore, allowing the attention of the reader to be fully drawn to the tragedy and loss of the past.

I did struggle to make sense of the story at first, but Night of the Comet is a comic that rewards repeat reading, with layers and elements of foreshadowing revealing themselves upon revisiting its pages.

The artwork really is something special too; though perhaps most closely recalling the mixed media, multi-style and many-layered, surrealist approaches of artists such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Simon Bisley or Ashley Wood, Schwanz’s illustrations are genuinely, entirely unique.

As a whole, Night of the Comet resists easy comparison to anything I’ve ever read; it’s not often that I’m able to say that.

As a reader of mainstream and indie comics for more than thirty years, to be rendered near enough speechless and taken aback to such an extent is quite the achievement – but Night of the Comet seems to get to that point almost immediately.

It won’t be for everyone, but for those readers whose minds are open to genuinely different and truly inventive approaches to visual storytelling, the riches within these 70 or so pages are vast.

Many thanks to Night of the Comet’s writer Jonathan Thompson for providing me with a digital copy of the graphic novel for review purposes.

Night of the Comet is due to be released on the 25th of January 2023. Ask your friendly local comic store to order you a copy!

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