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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fresh Pulp

    The origins of the graphic novel stem from rich picture novels and pulp magazines from early last century, like “”It Rhymes With Lust”” and “”The Phantom Detective.”” These potboiler detective stories set a tone that carry through into much of today’s cinema and comics.

    This month we take a look at a different revolution that also started with ink and paper, with three detective stories: a modern-day nourish thriller, another with a samurai detective and one with a certain adamantium clad, claw-carrying superhero.

    “”Fell, Vol 1: Feral City””

    Acclaimed writer Warren Ellis has teamed with illustrator Ben Templesmith (also acclaimed) to give us “”Fell,”” a cryptic nourish thriller.

    The first frame of “”Fell”” sets the tone. A post-it labeling a photo reads, “”My new home. I think maybe a lot of people killed themselves here.””

    Right from the start, “”Fell”” carves out an intriguing world for the reader. In the story, Detective Richard Fell is transferred across the bridge to Snowtown, a run-down neighborhood of Feral City. Creepy cases surface from the dark streets of the city and make for an interesting read.

    The book does have traces of other stories littered about, and has some similarities to “”Resident Evil”” and “”Silent Hill.””

    Templesmith’s illustration, however, is on par with the rest of his work: unique and brilliant. The art here fits the story better than the actual story fits itself.

    If you like dark graphic novels or are a fan of Ellis or Templesmith, definitely flip through “”Fell.””

    “”Civil War: Wolverine””

    Of the couple dozen “”Civil War”” side-stories, this is by far the best. Although there are no monumental character shifts, like Spider-Man’s unmasking or Captain America’s death, Wolverine’s story is the most absorbing. This trade paperback is possibly the best Wolverine ever written.

    The book follows Wolverines’ pursuit of Nitro, who instigated the Marvel Civil War. Using his tracking skills, Wolverine hunts down Nitro and finds that there’s more story than he thought.

    With a Halliburton-like company called “”Damage Control”” at the center of the controversy, the plot deals with complicated issues such as war profiteering, usually not found within the pages of comic books.

    Although it covers political topics and at one point descends into the inherent lameness of Namor and his underwater kingdom of Atlantis, somehow the story is able to come across as cool – probably because Wolverine is clawing through people left and right.

    Over the first few pages Humberto Ramos’s Saturday-morning-cartoon-like art may be unsettling, but it starts to blend with the story the deeper you read. When illustrating the frames of Wolverine falling victim to Nitro’s explosion, Ramos has probably etched one of the most iconic comic images ever: flesh burning off Wolverine’s flaming skeleton, claws brandished, as he falls to the ground.

    This book is a definite buy. It takes one of the most complicated comic characters and stretches his traits to their full potential.

    “”Sam Noir””

    Take Akira Kurasawa’s “”Yojimibo”” and cross it with Raymond Chandler’s “”Farewell, My Lovely”” and you have something along the lines of “”Sam Noir.””

    Explained by the abbreviated title, “”Sam Noir”” is the story of a samurai detective stuck in a noir-ish story of revenge.

    Although cool in concept, the book doesn’t execute as promised. The story lacks a lot of the intricacies found in crime novels of Chandler’s ilk, and Sam’s quick quips lack the dark irony of a certain Philip Marlowe.

    Anderson’s story tends to fall into a repetitive cycle of wordy inner thoughts, and Sam’s enemies seem all too easily conquerable. The concept tends to wear thin and the plot never thickens.

    The art in “”Sam Noir”” fits the idea behind the book better than the story. The dark drawings, aided by computer gradients and shading, hold the reader’s interest during the long dry spells in the story.

    The book would be a great to flip through if the story didn’t require such an investment …that, for the most part, lacks a payoff. “”Sam Noir”” is a good concept with a not-so-good execution.

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