Headlines   2003Review Index   February 5, 2003
Suspended Animation

Michael Vance - Mark Allen
Michael Vance Books

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The Wandering Ones: Ghost Wind

      This is a new one on me, and the first web comic I've ever reviewed. Clint Hollingsworth's The Wandering Ones: Ghost Wind is a very involving read, with lots of action, even more characterization, and (the book's best attribute) quite appealing artwork. I must mention, however, that this book is not a "copy" of any comic works being done out there; a quality that I find very refreshing.

      In the year 2066, the Earth is quite different. Most of the human race having been wiped out by a viral weapon, many survivors now exist in "clans," such as the Hawk Clan, lead by a young woman called Ravenwing.

      As she and her clan fight to keep their freedom, and perhaps their lives, from being taken by the forces of a malevolent would-be world govern-ment called "The Reich," Ravenwing must also face a threat borne from the tragedy of her past. Hollingsworth has woven quite a world with Ghost Wind. The main characters are complex and fresh. There are, however, perhaps a few too many for this first storyline, resulting in some "clutter."  A few of Ravenwing's apprentices almost come across as nothing more than extras, even though the writer seems to be trying to flesh them out. The only other perceived drawback of the book is the dialogue, which sometimes doesn't sound "real."

      The artwork is, to me, the most attractive part of the package. Hollingsworth's style is all his own, not indicative of anything being done today. He has a firm, but still-developing, grasp of musculature and textures. I also enjoyed his character and tech designs. Hollingsworth could be carving an artistic notch for himself in the world of comics.

      Ghost Wind: The Wandering Ones can be acquired at www.keenspot.com, to either order it directly, or find out which comic shops may carry it. It is suggested for all but the youngest of readers, due to a bit of near-nudity.

      The Wandering Ones: Ghost Wind, published by Keenspot Comics, 110 pages, $12.95.

       Review by Mark Allen 

Road to Perdition

      Hollywood has picked up another comic book property, and made it a hot item in the comic world. I'm referring to Road to Perdition by writer Max Allan Collins and artist Richard Piers Rayner. I haven't seen the movie, but now that I have the inspiration, it doesn't really matter. It's a pretty straight-forward, but entertaining gangster-gets-even tale, but with a great format.

      Road to Perdition is done the way I wish ALL comics were done; in one big, whopping, thick volume; some would call it the "Japanese digest" format. Whatever. All I know is that I would not have been able to read this book in monthly pamphlet form. It's just too enjoyable, mostly due to the artwork, which I'll get to in a moment.

      Collins' characterization and plot development are adequate for their purpose; creating sympathy for someone who really shouldn't get it. Michael O'Sullivan is one of the most feared mob hit men alive, responsible for many brutal slayings, all for the sake of a mobster's firm grasp on the criminal world. But when his wife and one of his sons are murdered by his boss's son, true allegiances come to the surface, and O'Sullivan declares all out war on the John Looney crime family, with his remaining son in tow.

      It's a simple premise, but one that's hard to turn away from, nonetheless. Rayner's artwork is nothing short of amazing. Though his line work is more coarse in most panels, while others have a softer, more detailed appearance (I'm not sure of the reason for the distinction), they all reflect a very realistic style. Richard Rayner is yet another artist who proves that comics are not the "step-child" of modern art; rather, they may, in fact, contain some of its finest examples.

      Road to Perdition can be found in comic shops, bookstores, and some online catalogs and auctions. It is recommended for adults, due to language and violence.

      Road to Perdition, published by Paradox Press, 304 pages, $13.95.

       Review by Mark Allen


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