Soulfire #8 brings volume 5 to a close with several final confrontations: PJ is facing off against a truly angry robotic ex-girlfriend, Benoist, Grace, and the rest have their hands full battling a huge, multi-headed robotic dragon and Abel, who holds a major grudge. In addition, Malikai has to figure out how to help a man disillusioned about magic and all it represents.
Krul is tasked with drawing several emotional arcs to a close and finishing the final battle, a task he undertakes with brisk efficiency, moving quickly from one battle to the next, one farewell to another. Some doors are shut completely; others leave room for future developments. Although the developments are satisfying, some of the emotional moments blip by too quickly to have much impact. One thing is clear, however: Malikai has grown up a great deal since first learning of his heritage. Grace, too, is stronger under fire than she once was.
This being largely showdown battles, the bulk of the work is undertaken in the art this time around. V. Ken Marion draws lovely, if somewhat elongated, women in gracefully flowing drapery that, although impractical for battle purposes is beautifully detailed. One of Soulfire‘s strengths is the beauty of the dragons, and the massive, multi-headed robotic dragon here is no exception: It is stunning in detail and rendering, every scale and bolt lovingly detailed. The two-page spread of the battle shows just how strong this foe is compared to the tiny figures attempting to subdue it. Abel, also, is a truly insane-looking opponent. All of this is strengthened by the by the rich, clear colors provided by Arciniega and Cho.
Krul provides enough of a summary at the beginning for a new reader to know what is happening, but Soulfire #8 is concluding a longer arc, so much of the detail work has gone before. Readers who have been following the arc all along will want to find out how it concludes; new readers might want to wait until volume 6 and the beginning of a new arc which is sure to have more draconic goodness.
Soulfire #8 is available on October 29, 2014 from Aspen Comics.
Plot: Frank Mastromauro
Script: J.T. Krul
Digital Inks: Mark Roslan & Juan Cho
Pencils: V. Ken Marion
Colors: Erick Arciniega & Juan Cho
Letters: Josh Reed