As writer, Lovern Kindzierski completely nails the fairy tale feel of the story, without coming across as clichéd. The opening pages that detail Mother Virtue's loving legacy and tragic fall have the feel of a classic fable, setting the dark, sorrowful tone for the story that follows. This is a classic story of good vs evil, played out through the personas of Virtue vs Shame, complete with a forces of pure evil (Slur) and pure innocence (Merritt).
As illustrator, John Bolton captures so many different themes and styles here that the story leaps off the page. He weaves between classic fairy tale, traditional fantasy, gothic horror, and heroic fantasy, often mixing themes with magical forces superimposed over 'normal' settings. Although it is a very colorful book, with Virtue's scenes full of reds and whites and greens, black absolutely dominates throughout, especially in the scenes with Shame and Slur.
Originally published in three story arcs - Conception, Pursuit, and Redemption - the story of Virtue and Shame is perfectly structured to make each arc complete, but to weave the stories together in a classic fairy tale arc. There is some tasteful nudity and well-choreographed violence, but it's the scenes of darkness and evil that truly make this a mature read. I love the way Slur is portrayed, but it's perversion of Cradle's guardian dryads and nymphs that is truly unsettling, arresting your gaze even when they're floating in the back of a scene. Although there are no real surprises with a fairy tale/fable, the way the story is told is what makes Shame so compelling and enjoyable.
Published September 27th 2016 by Renegade Arts
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.