What is there to say about a book that is 29 issues in? It’s obviously doing something right to get this far, and comprehending the overall plot is, well, difficult in a long-running series. I suppose our intrepid hero (me) is going to have to go into this with eyes wide shut. (heh)
While the cover may not evoke any particular emotion, it does - at the same time - serve its purpose. When you get to issue #29, you no longer need to judge the book by its cover.
I can’t de-tangle the art from the story /narration, and I can’t de-tangle the art from the paneling. The whole book feels like a series of jumpcuts, a high-action scene interspersed with a floating narrator that gives each scene of destruction a bit of poignancy. The art in the series feels punchy and gestured. The panels feel alive, animated, and focused. Despite taking place in a mansion, the place is drawn to feel devoid of human life - a house, but not a home.
The artists understand and use color well. While the actual drawings are punchy and motion-filled, the style does its job of carrying the story. I give the artists full kudos for presenting full frontal male nudity; it’s a bold choice and one that has an impact. The paneling weaves a lot of action with panels of white text on a black background, with a ghostly narrator recounting a memory of an event more than the event itself. The areas of the memory that the narrator remembers more vividly have fewer black panels, while the ones she doesn’t have more.
The writing revolves around the physical destruction of a place, but, more than that, the destruction is an extended metaphor for something. Long-time readers will understand better than those coming to the series at this time. If I had to go out on a limb, all of it seems to revolve around some sort of release, and, in that way, it mimics an orgasm of sorts. This series reminded me of the scene in Fight Club, where the narrator describes the need to destroy something beautiful.
Overall, I’d say the comic is striking, presenting a visual and writing style that teeters on being too chaotic but ends up being just right. If you are new to the series, I’d probably say this isn’t a great jumping in point, but if you’ve come this far with the series, I think you’ll be satisfied to know that it’s being taken seriously, even as it enters its 29th issue. That’s something to be happy about, as many series when they reach that far into the narrative story arc tend to just phone it in. Not here.
Creative Team: Matt Fraction (writer), Chip Zdarsky (artist)
Publisher: Image Comics
Click here to purchase.