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‘Polar: Came from the Cold’ and ‘Eye for an Eye’ – Graphic Novel Reviews

Revenge is a dish best served gratuitously.

I love environmental, emotional storytelling.  I grew up with Samurai Jack, and Genndy Tartakovsky was a master of this style.  Allowing a rich environment suffused with a singular mood influenced by music and color to tell the story for you, to be content with the smallest of expression, to have the courage to let it stand and allow the audience to be drawn into your world;it’s an incredibly brave and effective storytelling method when it works.  Victor Santos has that fearless talent, and it makes his two graphic novels a masterwork of the style, which makes for two very enjoyable reads.

Begun as a “silent” online strip, Polar was a world without dialogue.  Telling his story with artwork alone, Santos wove a tale of a man at odds with a large, well-funded, and organized organization that wanted him dead.  Our protagonist is a man of means, exploiting the smallest of opportunities given to work his way out of any situation.  Oh, and he does so with bloody, graphic violence.  This is no tale for kids; this is a bloody swath of vengeance and murder trailing though the hearts and innards of all who oppose.  Eye for an Eye finds our protagonist passing on his training to another who was wronged by those who decided her fate.  The bold coloring and strong lines convey not only an edgy, tense feel, but also the fine line dividing success and failure.

The addition of dialogue for the printed editions of both books I believe adds another several layers to the intrigue of the story.  I really enjoy just letting the images tell the story, but the text adds complex ideas and ideals too nuanced to come across with simply drawings. There’s a keen intellectual puzzle awaiting us within the bubbles.  Came from the Cold benefits from this more so than Eye for an Eye, but the second is more of a straightforward story that ends up with fewer psychological twists and turns, though no less interesting for that.

These are a great couple of books for fans of Samurai Jack, looking for something more adult and gooey.  If you like feeling a story before understanding it, this is the kind of work you’ll find very satisfying.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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