Article by “InsideReel” at SirkTV.com
The continuation of mythology or its creation within a modern psychological structure presupposes a notion of universal perceptions. What becomes interesting in the narratives of soldiers, vigilantes and struggling heroes is the undeniable crux of possibility that they might betray their true selves and become what they fear. This struggle with identity centers itself within who these characters are, and even those, like Jake the Dreaming, of who they might become.
Ryder on the Storm (#3 of 3)
[...] The notion of a man moving against his own perception of what his life should be is buried within a tale of a species simply trying to survive. Ultimately, what motivates the [...] progression [of the story] is the idea of the son taking revenge on the father. What [make] this part of the story work [are] the strong personalities of both Ryder’s mother and his would-be girlfriend, who try to outdo each other in terms of control before one of them dies. The aspect of a Drone Queen balancing the concept of new blood plays a little too close to Aliens with glimpses of Underworld. In structuring notions of family and survivalist progressions, especially within the possibilities of beasts and nihilism, the narrative becomes an intersecting thought process of wants and needs. Ryder does not want to become the agent of his aggression, but the intention of who he might become will drive his need.
After Dark (#3 of 3)
The aspects that continue on in the face of a supposed messiah arriving in town burrows would-be believers into lies of forgiveness. The relationship of Bedouin and his lingering Anna speak more to the state of the world than anything else. [After Dark] progresses the idea of who and what needs to [be maintained] ([such as] the notion of intimacy). Like revolutions of Total Recall and parts of The Matrix, the underdog nature of facing a bigger foe looms ominously. [...] However, the truth of the theme [of After Dark] revolves around the search for identity, which remains constant, while ultimately the character of Anna positions it above the rest.
Earp: Saints For Sinners (#2 of 5)
In creating his new world where [a] life of crime is simply balanced by a notion of money, Earp tries to open the A-OK Casino, trying not to cause too much strife. Problem is, there is a girl at Flynn Casino, where the top man in charge is giving her two choices, neither or which seems destined to give her any peace. Josie, the woman in question, is a star performer, but is intrigued by Wyatt, though she does admit that he is less than what she thought he was. During her sold-out performance, a recently busted-out Jesse James robs the theater and reveals that Josie is his former flame. [The] reality is that he loves stealing more than her, but only by a little bit. Flynn finds out what is going on and swears to have her killed. She escapes and winds up on Wyatt’s doorstep at A-OK. Not a good sign. The fiery tumblers of art that fill the pages paint Las Vegas as it would be in a modern Western motif, giving it both a danger and an alluring navigation.
Earp: Saints For Sinners (#3 of 4)
After escaping when fire engulfs the A-OK, the story jumps backwards. Josie wants to stick the knife into Flynn using Earp as a catalyst, but Wyatt should know better. He is trying to keep a low profile in [a] city of vipers. Unlike some of the other Radical Comics, these characters know exactly who they are but are always fighting against their tried-and-true natures. Jesse James shows up at Earp’s establishment to gamble away some of Flynn’s blood money that he stole. The reality that enters is: what does this make Earp? Earp asks Josie to stay, but not sing, wanting not to upset the wrath of the Pinkertons even more. Morgan Earp wants to hit back for their treatment of his brother and Jesse James offers him the opportunity. While Wyatt finally gives in to Josie’s advances, Morgan digs his own grave. The juxtaposition, especially in the latter half of this issue, between the bedroom and the robbery is extremely well-executed, showing the inherent cinematic element and pacing of what this provides.
Abattoir (#3 and #4 of 6)
After seeing his reflection of death in the mirror, Richard begins having more and more visions of what Jebediah Crone might be leading to. After Al (his friend and cop to boot) comes to [Richard's] house to offer solace to his wife and child, the puzzle only becomes more motivated. The first issue is slightly mired in the development of exposition as Richard tries to find documents relating to the buying of the different houses by Crone after a violent act had been committed there. A former realtor speaks of the oddness of the old man and then sends [Richard] to see a witness, hidden away from life, on a farm. The man there explains that Crone visited them in the 1950s and looked just as old back then. After Richard leaves, the farmer is killed by a familiar face. The evidence keeps piling up, but nothing to structure a case. This heresay is made up of various accounts, including house buyouts as far as back as 1890. A town besieged by Crone thought there was a curse upon it, with all the barns in the area mysteriously burning down. The old man again was mentioned by name (though Al says it might have been a relative). Richard cannot sleep and looks more and more desperate. In a last ditch effort, [Richard] knocks out Al and takes [Al's] vehicle to return to his house. Inside, he is attacked by what he perceives to be a monster. Even though it is not made clear, the possibility is that it might be Vanessa and that Richard was hallucinating when he attacked. The interesting structure of these issues is taking the main character of Crone and placing his would-be actions on the periphery, creating an intriguing dynamic. However, the storytelling becomes less than focused and more obtuse, despite a very divided ending which works well.
Hotwire: Deep Cut (#3 of 3)
Tracking down the necessities between life and death, darkness and light, and machine and human continues at the core of the story structure within this tome which shows a balance between its neo-modern vision and a simple human story. In the last issue, the most interesting image revolved [around] a robot carrying [...] the body of a pregnant woman who had literally lost her head, but was still generating blood throughout her body as her blue light was still attached. The idea of split worlds is a very interesting motif, and, within this issue, causes the other blue lights to revolt because there is a balance broken within the two planes of existence. While the motivation of Alice in doing a solo jump into the war zone seems more like a visual cue than a narrative one, it obviously builds on where the character wants to focus her energy [...]. Once on the ground, and especially when the robot reveals the “ghost” inside him, the image brings more than a passing parallel with the ending of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the melding between man and machine. While the pregnant girl is brought into custody and the city primarily returns to order, this [issue] opens more questions to be resolved.
Jake the Dreaming
This advance, offered as a teaser for Free Comic Day, is an interesting and emerging departure for Radical Comics. While looking forward to their one-off graphic novel creations in the future, this [book] seems fairly close to the ground in terms of its ideas. It follows a boy who lives mostly in his daydreams before he begins to realize that these are two different worlds and escaping from one and defending another have their own consequences. The swirling of the art, where different ideas of genre melt together, makes for an interesting collage, but tends to get mired in too much cross-imagery. The text accompanying the images has possibilities, but compels too close to “Lemony Snicket” in many ways which work both for and against it. [...] The final resolution and arch of the narrative could [point] to a more Never Ending Story basis as well.
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