We take a look at the first five issues of the Pale, an ongoing crime thriller from Fab Ray Comics about a sinister death in small town America and the FBI agent with an unusual affliction attempting to solve it. Can this series become one of comics most wanted or will it be a title that that gets away from us?
Publisher: Fab Ray Comics
Writer: Sanders Fabares, Jay Fabares
Artist: Jay Fabares
Price: Read for free at thepalecomic.com or pick up issues #1-3 from ComiXology
The Pale takes place in Rocket Ridge, Arizona, a small town in the middle of nowhere known for very little. However, it’s obscurity soon changes when the weary local sheriff stumbles across a coyote with a severed hand. Soon a body is found and it’s not long before sheriff Logan and his trusty deputy, Dawn’s report finds its way to FBI agent Franklin Ink. However, Ink has an unusual affliction as well as an ulterior motive regarding this grisly find, one which may lead something far greater and sinister.
With The Pale, Jay and Sanders Fabares have crafted a immensely intriguing and compelling crime thriller that feels very much in the vein of series like Fargo and Twin Peaks (though more the former than the latter). This story is incredibly well crafted and moves forward at an really great pace, never rushing ahead but never stalling as it introduces ever facet of the investigation. The key of the first five issues is without a doubt the characters. Very little of the actual crime appears to get focus in these issues, but instead the eclectic cast are fully fleshed out as their personalities, viewpoints and secrets are put out on the table for us to see.
Chief among these is Franklin Ink, whose FBI agent continues to give the vibe that he straddles the line between hero and villain despite the main focus being on him. Beyond him, practically every character who speaks is given a distinct personality which really makes the world believable. If there is one downside, however, the side story of some teenage boys feels like a distraction to the main plot. That said, given the expert storytelling offered so far, we can be patient in the assumption that there’s a reason for their inclusion still to be revealed.
Of course, the Fabares work on the story is more than matched by Jay’s truly gorgeous artwork. Jay’s style, which gives off a real reminiscence to Patrick Trahey’s the XII: The Father and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, looks incredibly almost photo-realistic with some truly stunning wide shots using light pencils which appear to give more weight to the wide open desert locales. Also, Jay offers up some fantastic facials as she more than expertly offers panels where the characters seem to say everything in their facial expressions. Of course, this contradicts what is really stand out for the Pale in how Jay visualises Franklin’s Prosopagnosia, depicting all characters faces with this identical, almost cartoon like look.
The Pale is an engrossing, entertaining thriller which is fantastically written and contains wonderful visuals. With the story still to continue with future instalments, this is one of very few comics which has this review chomping at the bit for more. Therefore, do yourself a favour and get reading this great title now!