Published on October 4th, 2019 | by Chrys Terlizzi
Ether: The Disappearance of Violet Bell #1 Review
Summary: Matt Kindt and David Rubín’s first issue of the third “season” of their Ether series is an enigmatic and beautiful issue that leaves the reader searching for more.
Matt Kindt opens the issue with our hero, Boone Dias, in some sort of self-imposed exile, sitting at the monuments to the “Seven Lucky Gods” (an ironic name for the septet of miserable, immortal beings). We learn about each of the gods as an aside, setting the tone for the strange world the story inhabits. Each of the gods’ stories do a great job at efficiently telling an interesting short tale in a sentence or two.
Each god’s immortality is a guise for some type of terrible misfortune – for example, Gailstone is “gifted with eternal life but doomed to continually drown in the depths of the oceans,” forced to mate with generations of mermaids. Each are considered “lucky” because they persevere despite their horrible fates, a trait which Boone seems to unknowingly reflect. With this interesting piece of world-building, Kindt manages to inject this subtle characterization for his protagonist in an interesting fashion. After this introduction, Boone is sent on his mission – to find the missing Violet Bell, a woman he seems to have a deep history with.
Personally, this is my introduction to the world of Ether, and Kindt grabs me with his writing. It is informative enough that I can intuit what’s come before, and makes me want to seek out the previous two “seasons” to learn more. I’m not quite sure who all of the main characters in the issue are or what their backstories are, but Kindt gives the reader plenty to work with that it doesn’t really matter.
The real draw for this issue is the artwork of David Rubín. Every single panel is packed with interesting designs and eye-popping combinations of color. There is very little wasted space on any given page of this issue. The exploration of each of the “Seven Lucky Gods” is so fun to look at. The character designs for Bear Skein (the immortal god of bloodlust and battle) and Buash the Sightless (the eyeless god of the underworld) stand out as the reader immediately gets a sense of what these gods are about without reading a single word. The creature designs are also incredible throughout the book, somehow straddling that line between endearing and unsettling. The presumed assassin’s transformation from egg at the crime scene into a robotic cobra monster is especially creative and fun to watch unfold.
Without having ever read an issue of Ether before, this issue isn’t a perfect jumping-on point point, but it gives the reader enough plot and more than enough artwork to tantalize and have the reader digging through the back catalog to catch up.
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art, Colors, and Letters: David Rubín
Flats: Kike J. Diaz