Writer: Brandon Thomas / Artist: Khary Randolph / Image
Excellence throughout its run has opened with the Four Walls of the Aegis and a family tree in various states. We have followed Spencer Dales through a wide assortment of trials and tribulations, and his adventure is far from over which is ultimately a good thing since his adventure is enthralling.
We start the issue with Spencer darting throughout the city, avoiding detection from the various agents of the Aegis and the constant state of being on the lam has very clearly weighed heavy on his conscious. As we get a brief glimpse into a conversation he had his mother, we are reminded that Excellence has always excelled at allegory and how this fantastical work has all of this heavily structured and oppressive systems and going against these systems is significantly terrifying. And Spencer’s resolve is just a consistent source of joy and optimism. Thomas’s dialog and narration are absolutely inspiring, and the story continues as a blistering speed and captures the recurring zeitgeist of the last couple years.
And par the course, Randolph’s artwork remains top tier. The action scenes are stellar, the use of negative space is magnificent, and the book retains so much kinetic energy from the start to the end that matches the pacing of the plot perfectly. Randolph knows how to get you to linger on a certain panel and how to get the page turning when Thomas has a story beat and it’s great to see the team continue to do bold and innovative spreads.
We’re in the back half of Excellence’s second arc and all signs points that it will continue to be…well excellent. Thomas and Randolph have crafted and curated such a thrilling world, and watching Spencer grow into his own has been a gift.
9.0 “Conversations with Parents” out of 10
Enjoying Excellence? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.