jueves, 18 de diciembre de 2014

Another Three Comic-book Reviews

(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 The Kiss of Judas, by Stratovarious (Spotify, YouTube).

It is time for yet another batch of short reviews of comic-books. I was especially pleased with the three I reviewed in my last installment of this section but, unfortunately, I am not so enthusiastic with the graphic novels I want to write about today. 

I was not completely satisfied with Meka when I read it a couple of months ago, but it certainly showed a lot of potential. Thus, I decided to give Luminae a try, this time not only illustrated but also written by Bengal. Again, the book failed to impress me. The art is quite good (although a bit too manga-style sometimes), but the fight scenes are, once more, not that clear and the characters are too much alike to easily tell them apart. 

The writing is not better. The plot is quite straightforward (typical good vs. evil battle) but the constant changes of scene make it difficult to follow. There is little development of the characters and the ending is a bit clichéd. It seems that this is the first volume in a series, but I'm not really interested in reading the next: this one stands perfectly well on its own and failed to pique my curiosity.

Judas: The Last Days, written by W. Maxwell Prince and illustrated by Jon Armor, has a very interesting premise: Judas Iscariot has survived for 2000 years after betraying Jesus, but now he wants to die. The actual plot of the graphic novel is, in fact, much more weird than that and it gets weirder with every page. Inmortal apostles that addicted to drugs, politicians or transsexual intertwine with elements of metafiction (and of hyperstition, I'd dare to say) to give raise to a weird book that will most surely baffle the average reader and offend those with hardcore religious beliefs. 

I did enjoy the art, which gets better in the final part of the book. I found that the use of colour, with different palettes for different settings, was really spot-on and some of the less conventional page compositions worked really well. All in all, a comic-book with some interesting ideas but possibly too ambitious for its own good. Give it a try if you're in the mood for something different. 

The best of the lot (although that doesn't mean much in this case) is The Squidder (script and art by Ben Templesmith). A Lovecraftian pastiche set in a post-apocalyptic world, this graphic novel combines tropes from science fiction, horror and noir fiction. The plot is not especially original, but works well enough, with good character development.

The art is just excellent and shows a lot of personality. The use of the colour is brilliant (but, unfortunately, makes the text difficult to read sometimes) and the splash-pages and page compositions are impressive. It all contributes to create an oppressive and decadent atmosphere that is just perfect for the story. I'd recommend The Squidder for the art alone, and the plot, although a bit trite, also helps.

All in all, three comic-books that you can feel perfectly free to miss if you're in a hurry. You can try Judas: The Last Days if you feel like trying something different and, especially, The Squidder if you enjoy a good post-apocalyptic story with a side order of tentacles to go with it and also appreciate good art and powerful coloring.

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

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