By David Stehman ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
STORY BY: Edgar Allen Poe, Enrica Jang
ART BY: Jason Strutz
PUBLISHER: Action Lab Comics
COVER PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE DATE: Jan 20th, 2016
PREVIEW: View it!
Action Lab’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado is a faithful, grim retelling of the classic short story. The source material is one of Poe’s more popular and acclaimed efforts, and tells the story of Montresor — a scheming Machiavellian seemingly ripped from Shakespeare — as he plans his revenge on Fortunato — a drunkard and reveler in Venice in 1796. Montresor’s scheme has Fortunato lured down into a wine cellar and chained behind a brick wall, to die alone.
The adaptation chooses to use atmospheric colors and wide-shot panels to emphasize the abyss and terror of the wine cellar. The vivid colors of Carnival, the annual masquerade festival in Venice that continues to this day, are gorgeous and contrast appropriately with the dark tones of the cellar.
The story is told from an omniscient perspective, with no narration from Montresor to spoil the twist too early. This is very different from the short story, which has Montresor telling everything from his malevolent perspective.
Montresor’s motivation for tricking Fortunato is clearer in the short story, but left ambiguous in the adaptation. This choice is a curious one, but allows some level of interpretation that goes beneath the surface level.
Overall, the one-shot adaptation of The Cask of Amontillado succeeds in dramatizing the classic story to an unfamiliar audience while using brilliant art and bold direction to create a chilling tale as cold as the fabled glass of Amontillado.