Hollow Point, Damaged, After Dark #2 & Shrapnel: Hubris #3 – Comic Review

The continuation and implementation of new characters always provides pitfalls and challenge within the overall structure of a new narrative. Radical Publishing understands that, though narrative needs to move, detail and the breathing of characters in terms of their actions and repercussions are also important. While certain arenas work different than others, it depends on its initial setup but also the conflict at hand. With something like “After Dark”, the second installment seems to find its footing while “Shrapnel: Hubris” lacks some of the tension seen in the previous volume when the conflict was on Venus and not Mars. The new freshman entries in “Hollow Point” and “Damaged” show two sides of the same coin with “Hollow” showing immediate visual connection while “Damaged” shows reliance too much on formulaic expectations with a hidden mystery lurking in the corner.

After Dark (#2 of 3) Left adrift to die in the wastelands, the ideal perceived in the initial inlay of this graphic novel finds its ability by using the identity structure of the characters to pull the progression back from the brink. While Ana, the soldier plagued with hopelessness and her own assured self-destruction, begins to take a back seat, the wretched thoughts of the rest of the crew begin to make themselves known. The Colonel, whose arm was hacked off by the Ronin, reflects himself into almost a religious trance. While at times far flung, the addition of faith and its possibility adds depth. What truly sells the story though in terms of the mythic is the city that the team next visits which looks like something from the Death Of Prospero with ancient statues and winged dragons. The aspect of an ages-old baby hidden among the vines while other near humans scavenge like bottom feeders adds to the mythology. Ultimately the story becomes the focus of the captain who seeks to find Angel who can save Solar City not realizing what the connotations of what that may bring.

Shrapnel: Hubris (#3 of 3) In approaching the final installment of this specific outlay, the aspect again of the mythic, the preordination contained within and the specific of certain religions becomes more defined. Captain Narayan, after liberating Venus and creating a clear timeline, returns to Mars to liberate its people from the Marine force occupying its sands. In a clear balance between Iraq and Afghanistan, the belief in the onslaught of a jihad is portrayed by the childhood friend of Narayan as pointing to something different. As certain prophecies including Revelations point to a theory in modern times of an Anti-Christ emerging from the ashes of the Middle East, it would make sense in balance to this story that the savior of the cause on Mars was not someone of that race but one that has accepted and changed sides (in their mind for the greater good). This means hooking up with what one would call “unsavory individuals” which can be reflected in action here. While Narayan seems much more solidified in her self-confidence and therefore her identity, this newfound focus begins manifesting itself in different ways which speaks to a greater problem: her god complex further idealized in her parallel words with Joan Of Arc. In such situations, any offensive or ideal seems for nought since the person in charge is blinded to their own acts.

Hollow Point (Radical Premiere) Like “Road To Perdition”, the assassin involved here knows his own shortcomings but is relegated to a sense of penitence, which is why his second assignment within this comic involves the killing of a priest who is accused of abuse. Using elements that Robert Rodriguez would be proud of, the killing in Mexico brokered by a would-be nun smoking a cigarette plays host to the aspect of a pulp novel in play. The Western style staredown at the bar where the hitman pities the hopelessness of his prey speaks to a larger depth. The dialogue, which is exceptionally good, wrangles mostly on the point on what is not being said of the other’s life while around them the ideals of debauchery hang in the balance. Depending on the inherent crux of the story, the dramatic instigations can either play mythic or to a more supernatural bent as it evolves. The rough personifications however give the art a real texture which are richly vivid in depth.

Damaged (Radical Premiere) Nestled as the reverse side of “Hollow Point” in the same issue, the idea of “Damaged”, like “Ryder On The Storm” involves an investigator who is not sure which side of the law he is on. “Ryder” was more ensconced in the gumshoe possibilities of the 40s where this inlay involves an outsider (Jack Cassidy) who is brought in to help supervise the instance of a new killing aimed at the mafia which seems (to him) to be carried out by one man. The “David & Goliath” motif the narrative keys into remains strong but the pinpoint element of who Jack is still remains remarkably slim as does his adversary (who besides the badge tattooed into his flesh) seems a remarkable mystery. After a witness who was left alive by chance after the rampage points to the next target, another battle looks to be brewing on the docks. The art paints a shadowy reflection of the characters without letting the reader beneath their skin which leads to a hollow and cold progression which is both purposeful but also leaves many details open to chance.

Posted on December 12, 2010, in Other Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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