File Size: 37836 KB
Print Length: 160 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Books (December 24, 2013)
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
An old man and a woman are in a snowbound cabin as assassins slip up on him. All of us learn that he is a former agent known as Black Kaiser. All of us also learn pretty early on that he is not easy to eliminate. But his former employers at the Damocles Company are determined and persistent. Black Kaiser is abducted and tortured at one point. If he will get away is that you can find out.
The art by Victor Santos is stunning. It's reminiscent of Honest Miller's Sin City work. Blocky, abstract, minimal color. A number of the full page works are genius. The tale is not new, but serves as a car here to deliver great art. That's not a bad tradeoff for me.
I was given a copy with this graphic novel by Diamond Book Distributors and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to read this striking and creative graphic novel., Polar: Originated from The Cold owes a heavy nod to Frank Miller's Sin City: a noirish cold-war era type of spy thriller drawn in two color grayscale red, with femme fatales and evil villains, hard shown aggression towards heroes and a great deal of atmosphere. Expect bright red lips or curly hair on heavy blocky dark illustrations and you get the idea of the style.
A deadly spy has retired but finds himself the target of an killing out of the glowing blue. He or she must track down the snake to the trap in order eliminate the threat and return to his idyll. But the route is rocky and full of danger, friends will betray, and ladies will seduce.
In case the premise sounds acquainted, it shouldn't be unexpected. We really have seen this styple over and over. It has all the noir cliches - embittered former anti-hero, swollen 1940s fashioned female temptresses, maniacal villains with nice characteristics, the hard betray by those once reliable, etc. The storyline plainly is in debt for a lot of Wayne Bond as much as the artwork owes to Sin City.
Because this was originally a wordless comedian, a lot is informed in the images. Often, the reader is bombarded by a stylistic page of small squares full of little closeups. It can be a bit confusing. And yet, I did feel that possibly the dialogue wasn't actually needed and more of a nod to 'stupid American audience who need to be told the obvious'. It lost a great deal of the quiet feel by having the discussion in there. And it focused intent that might better have been more nebulous and perhaps better left up to the reader to interpret. That will mixture of disingenuous discussion with ambiguous did bring the experience down to me, admittedly.
As romance is a draw for women, I think noir is the natural draw for men. Putting that into point of view, this is the opposite side of the same coin: a bodice ripper for the male crowd. The particular art, though well done, was just too Bad thing City for me - I felt like I actually was reading Frank Miller's next book rather than an original work by way of a different artistic. As such, there wasn't anything new added here and I actually was left a bit dissatisfied.
There is a great deal to see in the book and it bears upward to repeated readings due to the graphic character of the story. Yet at the same time, neither the storyline nor the characters or illustration add anything new that we haven't seen before. Received as an ARCH from the publisher., The particular comic is about a outdated ‘agent’ that we can assume he or she is basically an assassin. For reasons uknown ‘they’ want to get him and stay rid of him as retirement is not enough for this character. I actually hope I am not the only person who thinks that charge ‘hero’ looks like Nick Fury and I actually can only wonder if this story was originally pitched to Marvel for that character as with the minimal of changes and a couple of name changes it would fit perfectly. So the one eyed 50-something previous ‘agent’ has to package with team after team of men and women who have recently been sent to ‘retire’ him permanently. Eventually he auto tires of dealing with the minions and decides to take the fight the corporate ladder to the most notable and finish his pursuit with as much bloodshed as possible.
The comic is incredibly stylised using only white, black, red and the absolute minimum of detail with many figures being silhouettes or even negatives as they are ‘dealt’ with. If you gave this to me as the art for Amazing X-Men or some kind of mainstream comic I actually would hand it right back with a less than polite ‘no say thanks to you. ’ However for this guide and this tale it works incredibly well. It is hard to explain why but I actually am sure there are several metaphors for the character viewing the world in dark and white, without having colors of grey and the only colour he sees is the blood red of his victims, but to be truthful We are above those sort of crass allegories and am quite happy to let it speak for itself.
To be honest this book should be everything I hate about comics. All story. with little text, told by art that I should never like, but this is a definitive example of something being worth more than the sum of their parts. However the one part of this book which is stand out there even without other book is the page design; it is clever, unique and while not every attempt works, the overall feel is ingenious and you so rarely see pages constructed with this much care. I could sit down here and write a separate paragraph on why the layout to each and every page in this comic works so well, but equally I could just tell people to go and see the book and see for on their own.
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