The first CANTO series came out last year, introducing us to a heartwarming fable with adventure, magic, and love. It was a fairy tale as old as time, that a hero can come from the most unlikeliest of places.
The titular Canto now returns in a sequel series from IDW subtitled The Hollow Men by writer David M. Booher, artist Drew Zucker, colorist Vittorio Astone, and letterer Deron Bennett.
Book 2 of all-ages fan favorite Canto begins! Once, a little tin slave with a clock for a heart broke all the rules—he found love, he was given a name, and he escaped his masters to go on an epic journey to save his love’s heart. He met strange allies and terrifying enemies and, ultimately, though his adventure didn’t turn out as planned, he returned to his people and led them to freedom.
That freedom is in jeopardy when Canto discovers his people’s clocks will stop unless they return to captivity. He and his friends Falco, Rikta, and Veratta embark on a new adventure to save the lives of all their people. Can they lift the curse before their time runs out?
Everything that made the first run of Canto so beloved is back in The Hollow Men. Booher, Zucker, and company continue to build upon this enchanting world. And while there were a few pages that could have been left on the cutting room floor so we could get to the setup of this sequel series quicker, it by no means takes away from the quality of story.
As expansive as this realm is, it wouldn’t be as compelling if it were not for the short and stout Canto. No great fantasy story would be what it is without its hero. Frodo Baggins. Willow Ufgood. Canto deserves to have a rightful place among those characters. He’s a hero we need during these trying times. He’s innocent and endearing through and through. No matter his stature or status, he braves the harsh landscape to fulfill his quest.
Zucker brings a robust and whimsical quality to the artwork. It really shows in the character designs of Canto and his fellow metal people. They all have a signature size and accoutrement that help them stand out for the reader. Their big eyes are filled with such life and expression. Zucker has also developed a landscape that is wholly unique. The detail of the world drawn behind the characters is created with just as much soul as Canto and his fellowship.
Astone’s colors have a worn, ancient quality to them. It’s as if the book had been created centuries ago, and time has muted and yellowed the colors. It brings this old-world quality to the first issue of The Hollow Men, making you feel as if you are reading an antique fable. Bennett’s letters add to that vintage storybook vibe. What stands out in his work are the caption boxes, which look like their text was meticulously scribbled down via ink and quill onto papyrus scrolls.
If you enjoyed the first Canto series, you will appreciate The Hollow Men without a doubt. It’s a fantasy comic book filled with so much heart. Anyone of any age can (and should) pick up this book.