Slow down. Not Royden, you the reader. Remember this isn’t the usual over-wordy, snarky dialogue comic book. This is storytelling decompressed. Lepp uses his words like salt, just a pinch to spice up the pictures. Savour those images because even at 215 pages this will fly by.
In this penultimate volume we have turned a corner and the answers are coming thick and fast. We start with a flashback that sets up the final act and brings the last few characters into play. As our charming protagonists are hanging by a thread you genuinely fear for their future. No amount of optimism and determination can stand up to the coming storm and you know the final volume is going to be electrifying.
This book cements the arc of Lepp’s tale and you see he has understood the bigger picture from day one. This isn’t a sporadic idea muddling through but something that began as a polished and tightly plotted narrative. This volume is true to the Rust themes and the minimalist style strips away everything that could distract you from the heart-aching emotions of living characters.
The art as always is perfect. No two pages have the same panel layout and the undulating frame count signals Lepp’s mastery of time and narrative. As he provides both the words and pictures everything fits together like clockwork. If you are interested in anything artistic look at how the characters are placed in the frame, see how the pictures reveal more than the words and do so effortlessly.
A Double Thumbs Up!
Once again we have the joy of another volume of Rust. Everything about it, from the hardcover fabric binding, the extra thick pages and master-crafted story is fantastic. Nothing has changed and no compromise has been made in terms of high production values or unique style.
You have to remember to slow your reading right down or this will flash through in minutes. As most of the story is told visually there is very little reading to put the brakes on. This is the epitome of visual storytelling and you the reader feel two steps ahead of the characters. Not because a disembodied narrator has spoon-fed you the watered-down plot but because you use your eyes and your wits to figure things out for yourself. The author trusts you read between the lines and pick up on the subtle cues that he draws in.
The art is equally brilliant. A hand painted labour of love with just enough digital magic to draw you in. There is a wonderfully animated chase sequence – just like the first book – whose vast length you don’t mind as you are on the edge of your seat. We are also getting to know our characters well enough that a flick of the eyebrow or subtle smile speaks volumes.
Very few of the blanks you carried over get filled in but we do get a sense of how things fit together better. Not through lengthy idiot-proof exposition but by casual references and wonderfully natural dialogue. The only regret you have is that Lepp’s 200 page marvels are over far too quickly.
This volume contains a Free Comic Book Day story that although stands alone fits neatly and perfectly into the ongoing saga.
The highest Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: BONE – Book One: Out from Boneville – Jeff Smith
This is a beautiful work indeed, both visually and emotionally. It is a simple enough tale that gently meanders along but has some secrets for you to work out.
It really puts the “graphic,” into graphic novel as the words are sparse and carefully chosen. It reminds you of a storyboard for a film as it has a very dynamic feel to it. You can see Lepp’s training as an animator used to great effect. It looks hand drawn but there are very subtle digital tricks at work to massage the images and bring tangible motion to the page.
The colouring is outstanding with the entire book painted in sepia. This gives it a wonderfully old, nostalgic feel to it. The story has futuristic elements but is bathed in the trappings of the past. You have never seen brown work so hard.
This oozes quality, from the canvas-covered proper hardback binding to the premium quality paper it is printed on. The inside covers also feature mocked-up photographs from the story. All of this is so appropriate to feel of the piece.
Despite being almost 200 pages and an inch thick this is a rapid read as the pictures do most of the work. It is one of those subtle and universal stories that adults and children can get along with just fine and it definitely has you wanting more.
Double Thumbs Up!!
Tomorrow: The Boys: Volume 1 – The Name of the Game – Garth Ennis