It’s 1934 in New York City. The country is in the grips of the worst economic depression anyone has ever seen, and everyone is out of work. Enrico’s family is lucky. His father has a steady job providing the city’s thriving illegal underground dragon fighting operation with eggs that trainers grow into dueling monsters for men to bet and lose their hard earned wages on. But when his father comes to a fiery end plying his dangerous trade, Enrico knows he must step up and become the head of his household. That means convincing organized crime boss Christoforo Boccioni that he can take his parent’s place as a stealth dragon egg stealer. Reluctantly, Boccioni lets Enrico take part in a hunt, which is both the most exhilarating and terrifying experience of his short life. He begins to understand his late father’s calling to the brutal business, and what he finds deep in the dragon’s lair has four eyes, two wings and will decide his destiny. This stunningly original GN had me mesmerized from the very first fiery page. I couldn’t have been more tickled by the idea of an alternative Depression-Era New York where instead of cock fights there were wyrm battles. Poor immigrants try to make a buck diving into caves looking for eggs, while rich men take their prizes and let them lose their lives to angry dragon mamas? I’m in! The inky black artwork, richly framed in flame red and deep methane blue, is lush, with several double page spreads that give a bloody panoramic view of the dragon fights and the nightmare descents into the caves. My only complaint is that this collection of issues 1-4 of Four Eyes is only the beginning of Enrico’s dark adventure. I can’t wait to see where the dragon fighting biz takes him next!
Four Eyes, vol. 1: Forged in Flame by Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara