Step By Bloody Step: A Wordless Fantasy
Simon Spurrier, story; Matías Bergara, art; Matheus Lopes, colors
Image Comics, 2022

I have always been fascinated by comics without words. In a medium where art always carries more of the storytelling weight than the words, the few attempts to tell a story without dialog are worth serious attention. This is a four-issue fantasy miniseries told without words, just as the subtitle says. Its protagonists are a girl (who does not remember her name, or any past personal history) and her guardian, an armored giant who protects her from all of the dangers that threaten her in a barren environment. It is a dangerous place, which is gradually revealed to be some kind of dystopian future. After a while, it is revealed that the protector is a human woman wearing armor. That's a surprise, but encountering Civilization (which has apparently survived) is at least as shocking. The Girl finds herself in a Cinderella role (which she doesn't understand), and in the midst of a conflict between warring factions the Guardian steps in to help. It should be noted that there is some dialog here, but it's in a language that is not translated. In the end there is a circular relationship between the girl and guardian that is implied: perhaps mother/daughter? Bergara's art is beautiful throughout, even if it does not succeed in telling an entirely clear story.

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