Cognition #3 (Ken Reynolds Comics)

It’s been just over a year since Ken Reynolds and Sam Bentley brought out their last instalment of their steampunk action/horror comic Cognition. In the run up to the Kickstarter for issue #3, we take a look at the new issue and see if Cal and Sigma can continue their spell binding success, or if the cogs are beginning to rust?

Publisher: Ken Reynolds
Writer: Ken Reynolds
Artist: Sam Bentley (Art), Ken Reynolds (Letters)
Price: Now funding on Kickstarter

Cognition #3 continues some of the plot threads left dangling from issue #2 as Cal, Sigma and Hattie make short work of a trip to deepest darkest Wales, accompanied by a dangerous new recruit. Their mission; to consult with a local witch in order to locate ‘The Raven’ an item of unimaginable power (as these mystical relics tend to be) which is being sought order by a dangerous mystical group. However, things are not as they seem when, despite the witch’s help, our intrepid heroes are beset upon by a dangerous creature and realise that are not as powerful as they thought they were.

Ken Reynolds, once again, provides readers with another enjoyable, engrossing instalment of his excellent series, with a story which shows obvious improvement and growth in his writing. This issue feels much more of an action packed issue compared to its predecessors, with a monstrous fight scene late in the issue as well as a fantastic 2 page fight sequence which leaves the question of what happens next?

Meanwhile, the characters feel stronger and more fully formed than ever before, with the rapport between Cal and Sigma feeling better and better with each issue and really being the highlight of the series. As for the addition of new characters like Shuck and Gwiddonod, this seems like a great move, as the former allows for bigger action scenes while also helping give Cognition more of a Hellboy vibe, while the latter is an intriguing nemesis for the team.

Of course, the issue isn’t perfect as the issue contains references to prior issues which, given the gap between issue releases, makes it a struggle for fans and neophytes alike. Meanwhile, the ending felt abrupt with plot threads dangling, although whether this is due to a larger arc remains to be seen. Nonetheless, Reynolds has taken prior critique on board in the form of an opening recap page, so what few concerns us here will no doubt be ironed out going forward.

As for artist Sam Bentley, his work continues to improve in tandem with Reynolds’ writing in each and every issue. He again offers up some seriously gorgeous visuals, cementing his style style as something which is fantastical and eerily original. In this instalment, however, Bentley doesn’t play it safe and instead offers us whole new set of visuals to enhance his already impressive palette. This includes the opening fight sequence, which brings to life Reynolds script in a glorious fashion, while the reveal of the witch issue later on is an unsettlingly awesome scene. The highlight of his work, however, comes in the flashback/history lesson told in the flames of the fire. This is a lot less steampunk and a lot more cave painting, compared to the rest of the book, but this nevertheless provides an astounding visual. Of course, the only flaw in Bentley’s stellar work continues to be the odd panel where the artwork alters and becomes confusing as foreground and background merge. This problem didn’t appear to be as frequent as in prior issues, hinting that the artist is gradually finding his groove.

Cognition #3 is yet another fine instalment of a series which is truly a gold standard title amongst it’s small press brethren. Reynolds and Bentley continue to improve and refine both their talents with each successive issue and have made this issue the best yet – a lofty achievement given the quality of the issues so far. Cognition continues to be a comic you should be checking out and if you haven’t, it’ll be worth your time to catch up.