jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014

Three comic-books short 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.)

I've never been a hardcore comic-book reader. But a few years back I had phase in which I was reading as much comics (or even more) as novels, and I discovered quite a number of excellent works. For some reason or other, I have read fewer and fewer graphic novels lately and I decided it was time to try to catch up, so I picked up a couple of comic-books that piqued my interest. Unfortunately, the experience was not as good as I expected.

First of all, I want to talk about Saga, the celebrated comic-book written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Fiona Staples. This is, quite possibly, one of the most successful comics of the last few years, so my expectations were very high. I must say I was not impressed. In fact, I read the first volume last year (when it was nominated for a Hugo Award that it eventually won) and I failed to review it until now because I was quite disappointed with what I found.

I did enjoy the fact that Saga combines elements from different genres and I also quite liked the art, which reminded me of, sometimes, of The Saga of the Meta-Barons. But I found the plot very weak and not very cohesive. My main problem, though, was the feeling that the authors were trying too hard to impact the reader, most of the time with contrite and artificial plot twists. All in all, and though I know it is not a popular opinion, I didn't find anything engaging enough to make read the next volume.

E.G.O.s Volume 1: Quintessence, written by Stuart Moore with art by Gus Storms, also tries to impact the reader with a supposedly original approach to classic themes. This comic combines traditional superheroes with science fiction tropes. A priori, it sounds promising, and it intrigued me enough to give it a try. Sadly, the result leaves a lot to be desired.

The most enjoyable aspect is the voice of the narrator, which is fresh and funny. The rest of the elements, however, don't live up to the expectations. The plot borrows from well-known comics, with a villain that is very similar to Galactus and conflicts inside the superhero team that I have read, for instance, in Ultimate Avengers. But the worst part (and I am not even mentioning that the "science" is completely ludicrous) is an uninteresting and predictable plot that fails to engage the reader. The art doesn't help either; it lacks details and feels, at least to my taste, awkwardly unfinished (it might be an intended effect, but I quite disliked it).

Finally, Meka, written by J.D. Morgan and illustrated by Bengal, was what I thought to be a safe bet. Giant robots! Epic battles! I was expecting something in the vein Pacific Rim, but what I found was quite different. In fact, after just a few pages, the plot focuses on a more personal story, in which the emphasis is on the relationship of the two main protagonists. It took me a while to discard my expectations and then I quite enjoyed the evolution of the characters (especially in the case of the corporal), but I am afraid that some readers will feel disappointed if they are looking for a more action-oriented story. Also, I found the ending to be a bit rushed and somehow anticlimactic. 

Regarding the art, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think it has a lot of personality and works very well in conveying the emotions of the characters. On the other, I think Bengal abuses of the close-ups even when the scene seems to demand a long shot. Also, the illustrations, in general, are strangely out of focus, something that I found as awkward as confusing.

All in all, I cannot recommend any of these three comic-books. Meka is probably the one that I enjoyed the most, but it is nothing to write home about anyway. I can't help feeling a bit disappointed with my trying to return to comics. I guess I should keep on searching.

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

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