Friday, November 21, 2014

What I Bought 11/15/2014 - Part 4

I've kept forgetting to mention it, but Monday's post was my 3000th here. It's the 3001st overall, because Papafred posted that picture of Batman kicking that dude with the ice cream cone that one time.

Klarion #1, by Ann Nocenti (writer), Trevor McCarthy (artist), Guy Major (colorist), Pat Brousseau (letters) - The way that creepy guy's face is surrounded by the blue aura, he looks like the ugliest Metroid ever. Or a Pac-Man ghost.

Klarion has left his home of Limbotown. He wants to practice magic his way, to learn new things, to not feel restrained by people less talented. Also, he killed his teacher. He gets a ride from Beelzebub, which brings him tan extremely magical section of New York City. There's the Moody Museum, which seems like a home from magic-wielding orphans. And there's the Necropolitan Club, which wants to attract some of those magic-wielders as well. Klarion takes a job as an assistant chef at the Museum, but ends up going to a show at the club with a girl he meets at the museum named Zell. And by the end of the issue, he's fighting with the first person he met in NYC, a technomage named Rasp, who is probably already on board with what the Club is offering.

You can't say Nocenti and McCarthy didn't throw a lot at us, which is one of the things I've appreciated about Nocenti's DC work. Whatever other problems it might have, it isn't decompressed. Klarion's going to be an interesting character. One of the Museum's owners/staff notes that he's only concerned with whatever gets him where he wants to go. Which seems to be wherever he can learn and explore magic without feeling held back. Of course, there's no guarantee he'll read things right in that regard when presented with a choice, and I don't imagine every problem he'll face with involve that decision. Making friends with Zell and Rasp seemed more about being lonely than anything else, and his fight with Rasp started because he was concerned his new friend was out of control, and well, Rasp is out of control. I expect Klarion to make some bad choices, but I'm not sure what kind.

Beelzebub makes a comment I find interesting on Page 3. He tells Klarion all roads lead to the same place - yourself. But that where he (Beelzebub) is going, it's chaos. But he's driving a car there, thus he's on a road. So if Klarion is going with him, isn't he just going to find himself again, if that's where all roads lead? Unless that's the point. Klarion is chaos, and he doesn't realize it, because he's only looking at what he wants, and not the ripple effects of his actions.

One problem I've had with the books Nocenti's written for DC has been the artists not being up to the job. I don't think that's a problem I'll have with McCarthy. He does a lot of cool stuff with panel layouts, and borders. Pages 2 and 3 have these sort of eye-shaped panels that move in a counter-clockwise arc across the page as Klarion thinks back over his recent past, but they stop at the point he stops reminiscing, then resume after, when they move in for a close-up of his conversation with Beelzebub. The next two pages, the panels are this series of loops running diagonally across the page, with a yellow line and some dots separating the top half of the page from the bottom. That one doesn't work quite as well, because if you follow the loops it seems like you ought to read the top left panel first, then follow the road to the bottom left, then up and to the right, then down, and so on, rather than going straight across the top, then straight across the bottom. Still, it isn't that hard to follow, everything within the panels is clear and easy to read, and I appreciate the effort to do something cool.

Major's colors help. A lot of deep blacks that seem irregularly shaped, making the shadows seem ominous. They help Klarion's blue stand out, or the sickly green that's all over the Necropolitan Club. The eerie deep reddish-purple of the sky over the Moody Museum. The colors give the book the right sort of atmosphere, vaguely threatening and a little off-kilter. I still don't expect the book to last long, but I'm all in with it right now.

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