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‘Step By Bloody Step’ TPB (review)

Written by Si Spurrier
Art by Matias Bergar, Matheus Lopes
Published by Image Comics

 

It takes a certain amount of skill to convey a story using pictures alone.

Yes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

However, stringing together hundreds of art panels to share a story is still challenging. How can a picture explain complicated concepts like war, time travel, and espionage? This lofty goal of telling a wordless fantasy is what Si Spurrier and his fellow creatives set out to do in Step by Bloody Step.

The dominion of Winter endures, but there are signs. A particle of pollen in the teeth of the blizzard. The sun’s ghost, bashful behind thinning clouds. A distant warmth in the West. Faint, faint promises of Spring, but promises still. A girl awakes.

In the silent world of Step by Bloody Step, an armored giant and a helpless child march across the expanse of known civilization.

Together the pair cross a breathtaking world full of extraordinary beasts, bandits, and the deadly kingdoms of men along with their wicked machinations. If they stop their journey, the earth propels them forward for a reason unknown to the child and her guardian. The pair have no language, no memories, nothing except each other.

I enjoyed Step by Bloody Step immensely; the art was vibrant and engaging, so much so that words were not needed to convey the deeper context of the story.

If readers close the final pages of this graphic novel, they can do what I did to Google, Step by Bloody Step ending explained. That did help a bit because the last chapter in this wordless adventure gets “Timey-wimey” to quote a Dr. Who phrase.

Nevertheless, Spurrier’s work is about life, death, and rebirth cycles. Winter becomes Spring, bringing new life. Spring turns into Summer, Summer into Fall. Fall into Winter represents the death of all things, yet Spring returns with a twist, this time not only a rebirth but an opportunity to do things over, this time, the right way.

For lack of a better term, Step by Bloody Step is a breezy, enjoyable read (it is wordless, I know!) that somehow packs a heavy and prolonged-lasting weight. I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would, and the only reason it got points off was because I had to reach out to an external source to understand the significance of the book’s conclusion.

4.8 out of 5 stars.

 

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