Thursday, July 17, 2008

Penance: Trial of the Century – A Spotlight Review

Penance: Trial of the Century #1 of 4

Publisher: Arcana

Story/Plot: Sean Wise & Paul Gilligan

Script Ryan Foley


Colors: Eve

On the Stands: July 16, 2008

Helen Killer is the book that has made me take a look at more of the material coming out from Arcana and a new project that will be with another company being announced in San Diego will continue to keep my focus on this company.

My idea is that the Tuesday post is so overwhelming in its size and the number of books that many comics can get lost in the shuffle, so I want to occasionally do what I’m calling a spotlight review, which will either be a preview of a book soon to hit the stands or one that just hit the stands.

For Penance: Trial of the Century the premise is that a super-hero is involved in a hostage situation and the girl taken hostage dies as does the bad guy who is killed by the super-hero. The police have a “Mask Division” which handles these crimes. Our central character is a Lt. McCloud who is firmly against vigilante justice and is looking to make sure she nails the case against Penance.

The setting is very familiar and I’m sure this is from an old “universe”, but I can remember how old that universe is or if it is Arcana’s work. The Confederate and the CSU and other elements are familiar to me, but again I cannot remember from what books or from when. Also I’m not sure why we are using that “universe” as it only serves as a distraction from an otherwise well written tale.

I like Lt. McCloud and watching her interrogate Penance gives you a good read or how she feels about heroes. Having her have to fend off Parasol, who is a super hero reporter, was also well done. The ending of issue #1 was a group of crooks trying to break into the police station to kill Penance and Lt. McCloud and Parasol posed to defend the station.

The comic reads well, has a nice flavor to it that is half law and order and half Batman/JLA type of vibe to it. Lt. McCloud has a personal involvement in the case as the woman was the wife of a good friend of hers.

The weak part of the book was the art. I have no clue who “Goof” is, but this artist is consistently inconsistent. The first four pages are in a very different style and the artwork on those pages is very solid. Then on page 4 we jump to a sketchier style that at times is well done and other times has some really poor anatomy and some goofy (pun intended) camera angles. For the most part the art does a good job with story boarding the story and shows that there is some real potential, but this work would not be used for anything more then layouts by many companies.

Overall Grade B- A strong story, great Greg Horn cover, okay artwork.


  1. Hey, my first review, cool :) I've been reading your blog on and off for awhile now, so it's cool to see my work on here.

    Thanks for picking up the book and the review.

    I have to admit that's a pretty fair assessment of the art. Let me just say that the first few pages were actually some of the last that were done in the series(redone actually around the time I was working on the 3rd issue) , and by then I had figured a lot of things out and adjusted the art to fit the colors (and the lack of an inker).

    Anyway, I hope you stick with the series and give it another chance. The story as you say is pretty interesting. And if you like the first couple of pages of art, the series settles into similar quality by the second half or so of issue 2.

    Thanks again :)

  2. GOOF - I'm sticking with the comic. Glad to hear a little more on the background it makes more sense as to how the book looks.

    If you want to do an interview e-mail me at


  3. e-mail is

  4. Jim,
    I want to thank you for taking your valuable time to review the comic and your even more valuable money to purchase it! I was directed to your blog through the rest of the team.
    When I was brought on to adapt and script this series, I always equated it a little bit to a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end of the story, the faster it goes. And believe me when I tell you, the story only gets better from here...
    This story is really the brain child of Sean Wise and Paul Gilligan who are the creative force behind the project. My hope is that this series is successful so we can see more of their work, as they are could be a tremendous addition to the industry as a whole.
    I am very proud of this comic book series. Both Gian and I are very, very early in our careers as artist and writer respectively. But I think this is something that we will both look back on years from now with pride.
    Thanks again for the review. Stick with the comic. Lots of twists and turns ahead and I think you will love the end result!!!