This is the last volume in this wonderful series. It does end things quite definitively but not necessarily in a way you will like. There is plenty of action and drama and lots of the great shocks and twists you have come to expect. It is very “Hollywood Blockbuster” with plenty of rapid cutting back and forth and a huge fight at the end.
Some of your questions are answered but others aren’t and there seem to be a few poor plot decisions made. There is a huge point left unresolved; seemingly for a sequel that never came. You get the feeling this was cancelled in a hurry but they were good enough to leave an issue or two in which to wrap things up.
The art suffers noticeably too with plain white borders and straight edges for the whole book. Gone are the charm and chaos and independent spirit of the previous books. There are some nice double page spreads but the visual heart of the book has died. This feels more like a tentative first issue than an experienced conclusion. The quotes and facts are still there, albeit to a lesser degree, but now appear as plain text minus the handy little boxes.
An exciting disappointment. A real shame this series never continued. For the dramatic twists this grasps a Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: American Jesus – Mark Millar
This volume doesn’t try to match the impossibly high emotional standards of the previous one. It goes for weird instead. You know things will be different when the usual period newspapers have been replaced by dramatic art.
There are five stories, and shockingly, three are drawn by different artists. It is unusual to see our familiar world rendered in such a diverse way. This change is appropriate, particularly for the more fantastical feel of one concerning fairies. It all feels positive.
There are also different time periods at work too and you have to mentally store some things for later. The last story is very dramatic and you get the sense things are building to an unpleasant climax. It does get a bit hectic as new ideas are introduced and details you might have forgotten resurface.
But you will definitely have to get the next volume after reading this. A compulsive Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Proof: Endangered – Alexander Grecian
This is an amazing story. Not just for the Proof continuity but in terms of storytelling in general. It has a villain who is monstrous but not cartoonish, and non-humans who are paragons of humanity. There is a love story in several different guises and you know things will never be the same once you reach the end.
Whilst not quite the hallowed Origin Story we do spend most of our time in Gulliver’s past and learn a lot about him. If you are smart enough you will also spot a glimpse of his future too. It is neatly bookended in the present day and follows seamlessly from the threads started in the last book.
The art is wonderfully impressionistic eschewing realism and convention. Out of place patterns and colours forewarn you of dangers to come and things hidden below the surface. After three books of avoiding the colour red it is now everywhere complimenting the story’s murderous themes. The art doesn’t show you what you see but what you feel using bold visual techniques. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it certainly is different, but if you get it you will love it.
This is the most human book as it deals with themes we can all experience and understand, even if those feeling them aren’t like it. Its monster-of-the-week is the attitude of the period. It has a lot to say on this matter and it speaks most eloquently.
A sincere Double Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Proof: Blue Fairies – Alexander Grecian
This is turning into quite a sophisticated title. There is a simple premise and elegant storyline but it twists and turns so cleverly you don’t notice the masterfully subtle writing at work. It blends humour, action, suspense, emotion and character into the perfect heady cocktail. New mysteries are introduced so slyly you think they have been there all the time. There is no such thing as a loose end just the seeds of future surprises, none of which feel forced or gratuitous.
The art works just as hard to look slapdash and uncaring. Whilst it appears the panels have grown or been dropped randomly they are exactly where they need to be to make you feel what you are seeing. The artist eschews realism and occasionally lapses into psychedelics but it never feels unrealistic or unbelievable. There are some very nice angles and points of view in the framing too.
There is plenty to get your teeth into here and it deserves a high Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Proof: Julia – Alexander Grecian
There are two stories in this volume. The main one is an exciting trip to Africa that contains the most skilled double-cross you will ever see and a real gloves-off thought-provoking ending. The second is a slow meander giving some gentle character development.
The art is just as good, and just as individual, as the last book. The first story is very dark with large blocks of murky colour. The second lightens up slightly and has a playful and avant-garde touch to it.
The stories are very well put together; there are a lot of the cryptoid facts and plenty of historical quotes too. There is a complete script from the last issue, a humorous cut out and keep section, and a mini-story that probably appeared somewhere else but gives a teaser of Proof’s background.
Most enjoyable reading and certainly a Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Proof: Thunderbirds are Go! – Alexander Grecian
The premise is that fantastical creatures from fairies to Bigfoot are just wild animals so virtually extinct that they pass into legend. A US government department called The Lodge cares for these unusual animals in the wild or brings them into captivity.
Using the tried and tested formula of a new partner we get to follow Ginger Brown as she transfers into this strange new world from the FBI. This is very X-Files, Hellboy and noticeably very Chew.
There is a monster of the week theme as well as getting to know this strange new world. The narrative is constantly flipping back to earlier points in time but always with huge signposts letting you know. There are also constant popup boxes telling you about the creatures (Cryptids as they are correctly termed), supplying trivia, or world-building details. That and the constant epigraph heralding the location of each new scene makes this a very wordy book that can bog down in places.
The art has its own style, sketchy but with thick black lines. All the colours are matt or pastel inks, with hardly any red at all, reinforcing the natural and ecological themes of the book. The panel shapes and layout are endlessly dynamic lending a wild and unpredictable feeling to the world that really works. There are some great colour selections for snow and nocturnal scenes bringing a true sense of place. There a lot of words on the page but effort has been put into the lettering to keep things distinct. A nice touch are the period newspaper articles on the inside covers that you assume are fake until you have read the book then aren’t so sure.
A very good start, with a strong idea, well realised characters, and a unique world. Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Proof: The Company of Men – Alexander Grecian