A Fistful of Brimstone The Mighty Thor (2015) #22

Can someone tell me what's going on with Sindr's character design?

One of the tricks you learn in art school is to physically distance yourself from your work so you can make better critical judgments about it. That often involves, looking at it from the other side of the room, or taking off your glasses, or maybe just crossing your eyes. The idea is to stop getting lost in the details and see the big picture. Try one of those techniques with the following image...

Whenever a child of his turned th ree years old, we were given a test.The Mighty Thor #22 (October 2017) pages 2-3
Art by Valerio Schiti, colors by Veronica Gandini.

When I try to use those techniques on this image, I just wind up with a big yellow-and orange blob where nothing stands out.

Now, I get to some extent the creators are both trying to call back to the classic Kirby and Simonson renditions of Surtur while pulling out all sorts of modern-day tips and techniques to create a character sculpted from liquid flame with no fixed form. That's a hard tightrope to walk, trying to maintain fluidity and definition at the same time. Here, it just doesn't work.

Valerio Schiti's linework is mostly solid, though I do have some criticisms. The dark areas aren't terribly descriptive or textural, and outside of her tail they don't do much to define Sindr's form. Indeed, her upper body is an almost completely undefined blob, but in a way that seems more sloppy than intentional. It doesn't help that the one odd area of definition is her weird boob chain thing.

Where it really falls down, though, is the coloring. By using fluid color holds instead of solid color areas, Veronica Gandini effectively destroys whatever Schiti is trying to do with the linework. It makes a certain degree of sense that Sindr's throne seems more solid and dark than she does, but why are certain areas of her body highlighted with pure black? The eyes and mouth make sense - you want those to pop - but why the bottom of her right thigh and her boobs? It winds up destroying the drawing completely.

I will say one thing for this page - it makes for an exciting and memorable scene, even if it does fall apart the instant you poke at it.

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