Review: The Heavenly Chord (Big Punch Studios)

Heavenly ChordTwo of the UK’s top independent creators have combined forces to create a Marvel style crossover, as Jon Lock’s Afterlife Inc and Nich Angell’s 7String collide in The Heavenly Chord. Now available in one book will this duo be music to everyone’s ears or will it hit a bum note?
Heavenly ChordPublisher: Big Punch Studios
Writer: Jon Lock
Artist: Nich Angell
Price: £1.99 per issue from Comicsy

When the Empyrean is attacked by the newly encountered Requiem, Jack Fortune and his team running Afterlife Inc. must put find a way of stopping this new villains’ schemes once diplomacy fails. Fortunately for them, an unusual sword crossed with a guitar may just hold the answer to this new threat. Unfortunately for them, the owner of said sword, one Zachary Briarpatch, is looking for it and won’t let anyone stop him from reclaiming what is rightfully his.

Although it has no direct relation on either books ongoing continuity, The Heavenly Chord is a really fun book which fans of both series will love. This is in no small part thanks to the writing of Jo Lock who writes the main characters from both books incredibly well, ensuring they are people who we end up caring about and truly rooting for. Of course, the stand out character is once again Jack Fortune, who is written to perfection with a cheeky charm and a dark humour. After four volumes of Afterlife Inc, Lock certainly has that character nailed down tight and it makes The Heavenly Chord a much stronger book as a result.

As great as Lock’s writing is, it’s Nich Angell’s art which helps this book really shine. Angell’s style and colours are truly magical within the world of the 7String, enhancing it’s sci-fi/fantasy esque premise, and this continues within the world of The Heavenly Chord. Angell’s art is heaven sent (pardon the pun) for the Afterlife Inc. aspects of the story, as his dreamlike, ethereal panels gives the Empyrean a much more spiritual look than has been seen before and really helps add to the canon to both series.

Unfortunately, the villain of the piece is where the the story comes undone for us. Requiem, while integral to the story, doesn’t feel deeply fleshed out as a character (especially when compared to the rest of the cast). His actions aren’t as fully explained as they could have been, and this makes him a difficult character to empathize with, even to a limited degree. This is probably due to Lock having to pack two casts into one book in a limited page count, and this leads to characters like Elizabeth and Nuriel feeling shoehorned in as cameos, which is a shame for regular readers of either series.

Overall, The Heavenly Chord is a really fun read, and a reminder that crossovers like this can work well and don’t have to always have epic consequences to make the most of both sets of characters. We hope this team-up won’t be a one time deal as this first outing was music to our ears.

pd_review4“The Heavenly Chord is a fun read from two of the best UK indie comic creators, bringing together their highly enjoyable characters together for an epic, Avengers-like adventure. Though there are some flaws in its execution, they take nothing away from the enjoyment of what is still a really strong book. Once this adventure is over, you will want to look up to the heavens and cry ‘Encore'”