Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fell #1

"My new home. I think maybe a lot of people killed themselves here." This comic exudes that grainy, seedy, criminal feel typical to movies such as Saw, Seven, and the Crow. Fell is the new detective in Snowtown, and it looks like he's gonna be the only one to shape it up. This series is published by Image Comics, and I've got a lot to say about it, so dig in 'til the end.

About the author, Warren Ellis: You know him from my review in Jack Cross #1, so I'll cut and paste his info. Here's a link to the stuff he's worked on from 1982 to 2004; but recently, his projects include the following: Transmetropolitan, Desolation Jones, Planetary, and Jack Cross (to name very few). Ellis is a distinguished writer for comic books, graphic novels, video games, animation, books, screenplays, TV, etc. He says he's kept standing purely by Red Bull, cigarettes, and a cane.

About the artist, Ben Templesmith: His website has some great samples of what the art is going to look like. Also, J.D. Lombardi's thorough review includes 5 preview pages of artwork from Fell #1. Templesmith's artwork appears in the following publications: 30 Days of Night, Singularity 7, Star Wars, Army of Darkness, Silent Hill, and Buffy: The Vampire (non-exhaustive list). Much of this art is rather dark, which I don't much care for, but don't let my interests persuade you that Ben isn't talented. Much to the contrary.

Synopsis (without a Spoiler) and Review: On the front cover, you see Detective Fell and the Snowtown tag. Basically, you put the tag up in various places as a sign that you belong to Snowtown--it's what the bartender in the story calls "protective magic." Fell, hasn't even moved into his dumpy apartment when he sees a dead drunk being carted out of the building black-body-bag-style. You get the feeling that death is common in Snowtown. Fell then finds himself working in a precinct with 3 1/2 other detectives (one has no legs), and basically, he has carte blanche to do whatever he wants to: he can work alone. By the end of issue #1, Fell's chasing the facts back to the reason why the drunk in his building was read to find out.

There are three things I like about this series: the Snowtown tag, $1.99 price tag with a self-contained story, and the subtle humor. First, I already told you about the tag. I like how it ties the reader to the mysteries of this terrible city. Very creative storytelling. Second, this is a quality production for being only $1.99. Ellis and Templesmith want to give the readers big bang for a buck ninety-nine. The art is great, the writing flows naturally, and the story is self-contained. Just right for cost-conscious readers. Third, there are hidden tidbits of humor. Read #1 and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Recommendation: If you're into dark, gritty crime stories, you'll love this quality production, so buy #2. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this and feel good, because personally, I don't get into this type of stuff (7even-CSI-Saw-type stuff). But I know there are tons of readers out there that do, so enjoy. At the very least, one issue is well-worth the experimental read at a rich $1.99.


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