Review: Neroy Sphinx - Playing to Lose

by Benjamin Williams
5th June, 2024
3 minutes

If you're looking for a thrilling cosmic adventure that takes readers on a perilous journey through the furthest human worlds, then look no further than Neroy Sphinx: Playing To Lose, by Daniel Whiston and Dave Thompson. It's got high stakes, action, humour and an awful lot of entertainment!

Neroy Sphinx - Playing to Lose

Neroy Sphinx first started making appearances in the indie comics series FutureQuake, appearing sporadically from issues #4 to #20 between 2005 and 2012. However, "Playing to Lose" is a standalone book, so you don't need to have read the previous books to understand it. This makes it easy for new readers to get into while still offering depth and continuity for existing fans of the series.

The book tells the story of Neroy, who unleashed an ancient evil beyond the farthest human worlds and then forgot about it for ten years. Now he's back, accompanied by a group of friends who will support him on his journey to save humanity from eternal damnation. Humanity's salvation awaits in the great unknown, but the journey to reach it is perilous. Neroy will have to play the game better than he ever has before if he hopes to survive and save humanity.

The art by Dave Thompson is a lovely greyscale delight. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm an absolute sucker for black-and-white comics, and greyscale is pretty much that, just with more variation in tones than simple black and white, so this one immediately had my interest. And boy, does it deliver! 

Neroy Sphinx - Playing to Lose preview one

Thomson's artwork Playing to Lose shows nice progression as the series goes from chapter to chapter. His portrayal of the story and characters becomes more dynamic as he adeptly accentuates key elements and introduces diverse perspectives during conversations to mix things up without them being too noticeable - a gradual change that feels natural. It's good to start with, anyway, but come to the end, I absolutely love the art style, and the pages look stunning. He also gets to design some awesome looking aliens during the second half of the book.

Storywise, Daniel Whiston crafts an engaging, suspenseful and humour filled story broken down into small chapters, where you could imagine this taking place in something like the 2000 AD Progs.

Whiston intricately plots scams and robberies that build up to a grand objective, with fun taking precedence, and ingeniously harnesses the potential of the future to give us pure sci-fi enjoyment. And maybe a return to the Neroy Sphinx universe? Hopefully.

The tension and creativity escalate towards the climax following a masterfully executed twist, and it's satisfying to see the resolution hinge on Sphinx's character as a person instead of through action sequences.

Neroy Sphinx - Playing to Lose preview two

Along the journey, you'll experience some wonderful chapters, like the Train Job one near the beginning, which was hilarious. The art also helps with body language and facial expressions, elevating a fun chapter even further. This was the point where I really knew what I was getting into and that I was very likely going to enjoy the rest immensely. And I wasn't wrong!

Overall, Neroy Sphinx: Playing to Lose is a brilliant introduction to Neroy Sphinx - a character I hadn't read about previously. Daniel Whiston's narrative weaves a tale of adventure and wit, while Dave Thompson's greyscale artwork breathes life into every page. The blend of humour, suspense, and clever plot twists makes it a thrilling read from start to finish. Whether you're a long-time fan or a newcomer to the character, this cosmic journey is sure to entertain.

Neroy Sphinx: Playing To Lose is out now and available to order from the links on the Markosia website.

Rating: 4.5/5

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