lunes, 13 de octubre de 2014

More short reviews of comic-books

Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Long Live Rock 'N' Roll, by Rainbow (Spotify, YouTube).

It seems that my short reviews of comic-books, published a couple of weeks ago, were received quite well. So, since I am still trying to catch up with reading graphic novels, I have decided to write this kind of post with a certain periodicity. This time, I will focus on two comics that I've recently read and that are quite different in intention and quality.

Star Mage, written by J.C. De La Torre and illustrated by Ray Dillon was a big disappointment. The idea of science-fantasy on a Space Opera setting sounded really interesting and fun, but this trade edition that includes the first six issues of the series leaves a lot to be desired. The plot has been seen thousands of times and has a lot of holes in it. In fact, Star Mage is a dull and clumsy rewriting of Harry Potter with some ideas taken from Green Lantern and Superman. For instance, the Star Mages cast spells by means of incantations such as "Sepsu Batilu" and "Daku Scullsphere" (I wouldn't have been surprised to see one of them saying "Expecto Patronum" at some point). Also, for some reason, the word "necromancer" is used to describe these space wizards although their magic has nothing at all to do with death.

The art is slightly better than writing, especially in the first issue, but nothing to write home about. It relies to heavily on the use of primary colors and on some easy tricks such as depicting the characters with light coming from their eyes and hands to remind us that they magical powers. Oh, and the way of drawing the villain (who is really similar to Sinestro, from Green Lantern) is one of the less subtle resources I've seen in a lot of time.

Doomboy, written and illustrated by Tony Sandoval, is completely different. A much more intimate story with just a small hint of the supernatural that is ambiguous enough to be interpreted in many different ways. The plot explores friendship, love and loss and how they can be an inspiration for the creation of artistic work, especially music, and how, in turn, this creative process can help overcome grief.

Sandoval's art for Doomboy really stands out. It is as personal as powerful, with an amazing use of the graphical to express metaphors and convey the deepest feelings. Sandoval also excels at showing instead of telling, with a wonderful talent for deciding what to depict clearly and what to only imply. I was attracted to this graphic novel because I am a long-time fan of heavy metal, but I found something much more deep and delicate than I expected, that can appeal to very wide audience.

Thus, I recommend giving Doomboy a try if you are intrigued by the synopsis and are willing to embark on something different. It is not a superb work, especially because the plot is quite simple, but is sincere and personal, with powerful and emotional art. On the other hand, avoid Star Mage at all costs. It seems to be oriented to the YA market, but even the most inexperienced readers will be disappointed with this cheap attempt. I expected much better from IDW.

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español) 

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