Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fear Agent v1: #2

Re-Ignition: Chapter 2 (of 4)
by Rick Remender (writer), Tony Moore (pencils), Lee Loughridge (colors)

This is more like it. I'm not sure what distinguishes this issue from it's predecessor, possibly the introductions of Annie and Mara, possibly the understated humor, but I was grinning from ear to ear and giddy for more after reading this issue.

Fear Agent is a science-fiction adventure story.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fear Agent v1: #1

Re-Ignition: Chapter 1 (of 4)
by Rick Remender (writer), Tony Moore (pencils), Lee Loughridge (colors)

A good read but it didn't rock my world. Nothing too special. Open and shut case. Reads like a one-shot.

Fear Agent is a science-fiction adventure story.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Battlefields: Dear Billy #3

By Garth Ennis (writer) and Peter Snejbjerg (artist)

In the end there were no real surprises or twists. The foreshadowing in the prior issues wasn't misleading. Still unable to deal with her painful memories in anything other than a personal and violent manner, Carrie sees her world come apart before her eyes as the war winds down.

The potential happy ending vanishes. Carrie can't contemplate the new world order that is on the horizon. It makes no sense to her and she fails to see a place for her within it. She is hopelessly trapped in the past, reliving her rape and fighting back in what she deems the appropriate manner but one that is no longer available to her.

The prevalent theme in this story is the contrast between Carrie and Billy. He is able to cope with his experiences and move on whereas she never does. In one sense she seems to be trying to deal with pain the same way he does, by maintaining a stiff upper lip, but that isn't a coping mechanism as much as it is a facade. What matters more is what happens on the inside. He copes with it, she is incapable of doing the same. Although it is worth noting that he has a network of friends and she does not. It isn't until the very end that she bares her feelings but it is too late at that point. For Carrie that seems to be the ultimate taboo, sharing her feelings, and can only be done at great cost.

Preview: Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Dear Billy #3

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Battlefields: Dear Billy #2

By Garth Ennis (writer) and Peter Snejbjerg (artist)

What becomes clear in this issue is that even though Carrie and Billy both suffered greatly and were nearly killed by Japanese soldiers they are not both emotionally scarred in the same way. He seems to have compartmentalized his experience. He doesn't talk of it. It is possible that this is all a fa├žade.

Carrie doesn't talk of it either, to him, but as she is writing her letter to him she mentions her experience in passing. It is clear that she cannot take it any way other than personally. She wants retribution and finds ways to get it, although what she gets doesn't seem to quench her thirst for revenge.

It is unclear exactly how this story will turn out but the handwriting is on the wall. Even though Carrie seems to have found happiness in the moments she shares with Billy, she cannot let go of her pain. She doesn't understand how he is able to set aside what happened to him and still view the Japanese as human. She doesn't seem to want her psychic wounds to heal. They define her and give her purpose.

Even though there is potential for a happy ending Carrie feels the need to take a different path. That which is empowering her is also destroying her. She is in a downward spiral. Even though she doesn't want to crash and burn, even though she dreams of a happy life with Billy after the war is over her devotion to her pain is ultimately what matters most to her.

Preview: Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Dear Billy #2

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Battlefields: Dear Billy #1

By Garth Ennis (writer) and Peter Snejbjerg (artist)

A rough opening chapter. A tale of two survivors, both left for dead by Japanese troops, in separate encounters during World War 2. As the war rages on both recover, physically. She (Carrie) returns to duty as a nurse, he (Billy) as a pilot. Both might consider themselves lucky to be alive if their minds weren't consumed with the moments surrounding their near death experiences.

As the title implies the story is told, from Carrie's perspective, in the form of a letter to Billy. They met at a hospital in Calcutta. She tells him, in the letter, things that she didn't share with him before their paths diverged and he returned to duty, things that she hasn't told anyone else before. What isn't clear, at this point, is whether the letter ever reached him.

The chapter ends with Carrie getting ready to tend to a captured Japanese pilot. The look in her eyes and the last couple pages give the impression that meeting Billy wasn't enough. Carrie feels the need to do more in order to expunge the memories of her treatment at the hands of the pilot's countrymen.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this chapter is the matter-of-fact manner in which Carrie narrates the story, through her letter. The contrast between the cool, calm tone of the letter and hot emotions she hints at is palpable. Her words make the events seem very routine but images make it clear that she suffered and continues to suffer greatly because of what she experienced.

The story is beautifully drawn by Peter Snejbjerg but the most impressive thing about the look of the book is the coloring work of Bob Steen. The story is told with multiple pallettes. The daylight scenes are bright and vividly colored, the night scenes are much darker and muddier. It is hard to imagine the visuals having the same impact without colors chosen by Bob Steen.

Preview: Garth Ennis' Battlefields: Dear Billy #1