‘Open Tree #2: Linus and the Fluke of Love’ - Advance Comic Book Review

Linus has been isolated and alone since his beloved Mary left him.  To fight against the sad memories, he heads out to fish on the three-year anniversary and hooks the adventure of a lifetime.  Assailant Comics’ second installment in the Open Tree anthology series, Linus and The Fluke of Love, leaves the harsh Western landscapes of Freedom Run behind to hit the eastern coast and seas from Herman Melville legend.  The themes of rebirth, healing, and growth continue though, and it will be interesting to see if they translate across the entire series.

The plot of Linus and The Fluke of Love is a relatively concise Jonah-and-the-Whale-type story, but the simplicity adds to its charm.  Chris Carlton chose to reveal most of the plot in a narrative poem style, and the entire issue feels like a beautifully illustrated piece from a verse anthology.  The primary antagonist is nature in this volume, and Linus learns to accept the world’s unchangeable forces, which transforms him into a better man.

Letterer Brant Fowler utilizes two different fonts throughout the story to distinguish between the scant dialogue and narration.  Non-dialogue is written in a beautiful, formal style, and I have to admire the meticulous detail used to make it look like something off an old scroll; however, Lauren Sparks’ artwork and watercolors carry the bulk of the story, and they are breathtakingly gorgeous.  I am a huge fan of watercolor and respect the difficulty of the medium, so Sparks’ ability to blend pencils, ink, and watercolor into a soft picture impresses me.  Her humans may not be completely technically correct, but everything is so pretty readers that won’t care.

My only minor complaint with Linus and The Fluke of Love is that I couldn’t suspend disbelief enough to believe that a baleen whale would swallow a human.  They tend to be larger than toothed whales, but they are also much less aggressive.  Also, their throats are actually too small to swallow humans whole; HOWEVER, the tale is still extremely sweet, and the art work is gorgeous enough to be worth the cover price.
 
If you like softly evocative artwork and slow paced, gentle stories, Open Tree #2: Linus and The Fluke of Love may be the comic for you!  It’s a little different from many books out on the market, and it’s a great second installment to this anthology series.


4.5 Carefully Hooked Worms out of 5

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist

Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga

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