Story: Si Spurrier / Artist: Matais Bergara / Image
Every so often, I have to make subtle adjustments to the creator attribution at the topic of the comic. Sometimes, it’s because the writer and the artist are one and the same. Sometimes, it’s because the narrative was the result of one person and the actual script was from another. Today’s case, it’s because to call Simon Spurrier the “writer” of Step by Bloody Step would be factually incorrect because there are no words in the comic. At all. There’s barely any lettering at all. It’s one of the most surreal comic book experiences I’ve had in a while, and I loved every second of it.
The premise of Step by Bloody Step is staggeringly simple. There is a little girl with a large, armored guardian. They have no language, no names, and seemingly no memories. All they have a singular purpose to traverse the harsh landscape, and that’s it. That’s all there is. It is a simple high concept fantasy work, and it’s the exact type of thing that Spurrier would excel in. Even though we don’t have any of Spurrier’s signature banter, we still have the makings of his wildly fantastical vision of a strange world, brought to life painstakingly by Bergara.
Without any discernible dialog, Bergara has the incredibly gargantuan tasks of converting whatever script was handed to him into a full double-sized comic. And as a result, we the readers are treated to forty pages of magnificent characters and set pieces. This is a world that stands alongside other established properties with ease. The sheer sense of scale and environmental diversity makes for favorable parallels to Shadow of the Colossus and Pacific Rim. The Guardian has a real heft and weigh with the illustrations. Lopes’s colors draw out unique details of the different biomes traversed. It’s an incredibly ambitious feat of storytelling and while the narrative is simple, the execution is wonderfully haunting.
We know as much about the world as the protagonists and witnessing the start of their odyssey was a true pleasure. I have loved Spurrier’s stories in the past and while a textless comic is a hard sell, I think the entire creative team rose to the occasion and this is a must buy.
9.4 “Footprints” out of 10